Several years ago, way back before my husband and I became parents, he designed and created a wooden rack for me to display some of my flyswatter collection. I have hundreds of flyswatters, but it’s hard to think of ways to exhibit many of them at the same time.
But John is both creative and practical. He likes things to be organized, and he appreciates a good collection.
I know what you’re thinking right now: “Who doesn’t appreciate a flyswatter collection?” The answer might be “the husband who keeps it all well-organized in bins that he stores with the Christmas decorations.” But not in this case, of course. John is very supportive of my unusual collection.
Anyway, we moved into our house almost seven years ago. And, this year, in mid-March, John hung the rack on the wall along our basement staircase.
There’s nothing like taking on a good project during quarantine. But, you see, I wouldn’t know because my quarantine projects mostly found me—the way that they do. In the midst of my struggles with fourth-grade math and grocery ordering and doing my job, somehow the flyswatters just never got hung.
Last weekend, more than 12 weeks into this chapter in our lives, I announced that I wanted to fill the flyswatter rack. John pulled out the large plastic bins where he has beautifully organized the flyswatters, and I opened them to dig in and select the ones we would display.
Each swatter is different, though—with a nod to George Orwell—some are more different than others. I wanted to display swatters that were fun and attractive and worked well together. I wanted to include some that were homemade and others that were machine made, some that cost $1 or less and some that cost more than $10.
Many have interesting stories I remember, and some have stories buried in some distant corner of my mind that I struggle to recall. If I had planned my life as a flyswatter collector better, I would have kept a collector’s journal. But no one sets out to start a flyswatter collection—or at least I didn’t.
You might be wondering how the collection began. Back in college, there were occasionally flies in my room when I called home to chat with my mother. My younger brothers overheard her saying I needed a flyswatter, and that year for Christmas they scoured the dollar stores for a flyswatter to give me. Flyswatters are scarce in December.
That spring whenever my family members saw a flyswatter, they bought it and gave it to me. I started hanging them on my dorm room walls, and then my college friends started giving me flyswatters, too. Since then, many friends and family members have contributed to the collection—and I’ve added several myself, of course.
And now several of them hang in our home in all their flyswatter glory. Will I rotate others into the display over time? Will we offer flyswatter tours to any visitors if and when we ever have visitors again?
Only time will tell. For now, every time I see them, I smile. So, I thought I would share them with you. I hope they make you smile, too.