Just for the record Sandra Fenton insists she did not start the collection of wind chimes that clatter, tinkle and trill outside her daughter’s New Glasgow home.
“I take my share of blame but I did not actually start it. In fact, a few years ago I couldn’t stand wind chimes,” she said.
The first wind chime was bought by her daughter Dawn.
“She saw one somewhere and really liked it so she bought it. Later on, when I was coming for a visit, I brought her another one just a little gift. Then I kind of got to like them and I bought her another one.”
When Sandra moved in with her daughter’s family the collection really began to grow.
“If we aren’t busy on a Saturday morning my daughter and I will check out the yard sales, looking for wind chimes,” she said, adding it is rare if they buy anything else.
Once they admired a wind chime hanging from a house where a garage sale was in progress.
“It wasn’t for sale but when we admired it the owner took it down and sold it to us,” she said.
One of her larger chimes is made from a flattened knife, fork and spoon.
“You’d never call it beautiful but I bought it because I appreciated the effort the man had put into making it. I consider it a conversation piece,” she said.
The chimes, which number just over 50, vary in construction, weight, size and colour as well as musicality.
“The slightest breeze gets some of them moving and they tend to be the softer sounds. On a windy day everything gets going and you’d think we had a real orchestra,” she said.
Some of the chimes are made from glass and metal but others are from shells and crockery while still others are from stone, wood or plastics. The collection includes butterflies, sandals, bells, fish, birds and stars.
“They are all different. The one made from shells isn’t exactly musical but it has a nice clicking sound. You know right away which chime it is coming from,” said Fenton.
One chime incorporates a Canadian flag and Fenton would like to find an American match for it.
“You can hang them outside, leave them all year round and never have to dust. Who could argue with that?” Sandra Fenton
“I keep looking but I suppose I’d have to go to the States to find that. So far we ‘re only thinking of going to Prince Edward Island,” she said.
The least expensive of the chimes cost 50 cents while the highest end chime was purchased for $7.99.
Each of the chimes is brought home to groans from her grandsons and son-in-law.
“They claim not to like them but my son-in-law puts them up without being asked too many times,” she said.
All the chimes are suspended from the roof of the covered back deck of their row house. So far there have been no negative comments from neighbours.
“We’ve given a few of them to neighbours who just moved in. They seem to like them, too,” she said.
Fenton grew up in New Glasgow but cannot remember being a collector as a child.
“I wanted whatever all kids wanted at the time. I can’t remember having a collection of anything at all,” she said.
Later, as an adult, she collected porcelain dolls.
“They were very pretty but I got tired of dusting them so I gave most of them away and saved just a few of my favourite ones,” she said.
Right now she sees a big advantage in wind chimes over porcelain dolls.
“You can hang them outside, leave them all year round and never have to dust. Who could argue with that?”
While she is enjoying her collection she does not expect to be adding to it for years and years to come.
“Lately we’re concentrating on larger chimes with more visual impact but we’ll just get sick of it one day and they’ll all go in a garage sale. Right now we’re having fun with it. It is time my daughter and I spend together doing something that doesn’t break the budget.”