Tag Archives: recycling

Recycling, Part IV: Bird Feeder?

25 May

Do I have an invader?


Sigh…so the leg brace bird feeder is not squirrel-proof…


He managed to escape with a mouthful.


Yes, the best things in life may be free, but sometimes, someone bigger gets to them first…


© S. G. Hunter and Banjogrrldiaries, 2012-2017  


Recycling, Part III: Bird Feeder?

21 May

Mr. Cardinal contemplates the strange bird feeder.


Mr. Cardinal decides he likes the strange bird feeder!


Thank you, Mr. Cardinal!

You just made my day.


© S. G. Hunter and Banjogrrldiaries, 2012-2017

Recycling, Part II

19 May

So, what does one do with antique leg braces? I mean, really. When I am old, and have to move into a tiny apartment in a retirement home, how do I dispose of them prior to the move?

Ebay. I google “vintage leg braces.” Six results found. Three of them are actual old leg braces. One is a pair of leg braces, as in two separate leg braces, with the shoes attached. I think mine are cooler, since it is a one-piece mechanism. The attached shoes, though…that’s kind of cool. The seller of these leg braces is asking $149 and states, “Thank goodness for modern technology because I can’t imagine having to wear these braces.” The seller goes on to say, “These are a very cool display or teaching piece. Don’t hesitate to bid, for these items are getting very scarce and hard to find in this condition especially in a pair. One of a kind to own.” Technically, uh, that would be TWO of a kind to own.

But, a teaching piece??? What in the world can you teach with leg braces? You can’t teach anything with these, except maybe medical history. Aha! That’s it! A medical museum might want my leg braces. I google “orthopedic medical museum.”

I get 3,680,000 results in .14 seconds. Wow. This is going to be challenging. The first result is a special exhibit in 2007 called “Beyond Broken Bones: The Story of Orthopedics and Prosthetics.” Well, I am five years too late to donate to that. Looked interesting, though. I would have like to have seen that exhibit in Chicago. It looks at the history of orthopedic treatments dating back to ancient Egypt. Maybe some braces with hieroglyphics on them?

The second result is a link to the medical museum at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. They collect medical artifacts. Hey, maybe they’d want these braces. Then I look under the museum’s “collecting objectives.” The first sentence is, “The Medical Museum collects items pertinent to the history of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the state of Iowa, and the Midwest.” So, were medical treatments in the Midwest all that different from the medical treatments in the South, where I was treated? How strange! I am going to have to look at my braces again. Maybe that leather didn’t come from a cow, but from a possum.

Okay, time to refine my search. I google “orthopedic medical museum NC.” The top result is the “Country Doctor Museum.” It is owned by East Carolina University. Their requirements for accepting donations are that the items “support its purpose of preserving the history and cultural heritage of rural healthcare professionals in the United States.”

Hmm, I grew up in a city. My braces were manufactured out of steel and leather, not constructed out of oak tree limbs and honeysuckle vines. Mine are state-of-the-art for that time. I am pretty sure they were city braces.

A few other clicks leads me to more dead ends. I guess the bird feeder idea isn’t so bad after all. I’ll check with Howdy Doody to see if he approves.



© S. G. Hunter and Banjogrrldiaries, 2012-2017


18 May

(A note to my fellow XLH’ers and to the parents of children with XLH: I am not an insensitive clod. I know that those who, like myself, have been born with this disorder, have some painful and difficult memories, as I also have. I think that parents of children with this disorder may have difficulty seeing any humor in this posting, and might wonder if I am making light of it. I am not. The way I have always dealt with difficulty is to see the humor and irony in it…and certainly, for me, there has been quite a bit of both difficulty and irony in living with this. It is my way of coping in life and it helps me to value those experiences that are somehow universal to being human. Seeing the humor in life’s difficulties has also saved me a lot of money that I might have spent on therapists…)


I have a confession to make…I have a hard time letting go. Not of feelings, but of STUFF. I am not a hoarder, but I am very sentimental. I have some things that I need or should get rid of, I am sure, but they hold memories or feelings and I can’t get rid of them yet. Someday, though, I know I will have to. Other things I save because I think I can use them again someday, recycle them, repurpose them.

When I was in my early twenties, in college, I went to the trunk of my mother’s car to get something out…most likely a load of dirty laundry. And there, nestled inside, were my leg braces (see photo from post on May 2). I grabbed them, hauled them inside the house and said to my mother loudly, “WHAT are these doing in the trunk of your CAR?”

“I am going to donate them to Goodwill Industries,” she said. “Maybe someone can use them.” She’s a recycler, too.

“No one wants these! No one will ever use these! They were made for me in 1964 and they’re 18 years old now! They’re not even in style any more!” I took them to my room, reclaiming them and rehoming them to me, their rightful owner.


 It’s not like I had gotten them out over the years to play with them or anything. I had used them in a “found object” sculpture in twelfth grade art class, though. The humanlike figure had sort of an eerie stuffed cloth body and the braces for legs, wearing shoes and clothes and it had a tennis racket for a head. I have to admit that I enjoyed the look on the art teacher’s face, who was thoroughly creeped out and asked, “What the hell are those?”

“My legs braces that I wore when I was 4 years old.” He just stared at me. I got an “A.”

Other than that, the leg braces lived in a plastic bag, under my bed. With all the other monsters.

So, here it is, 48 years and 9 moves later and I still don’t know what to do with them. I’ve had several ideas…maybe some photos, close-ups of the leather and steel components. I wonder about the person who made them, assembled them, stitched the leather, back in the early ‘60’s. Thank you, whoever you are. Your work had held up after 48 years. A testament to your craftsmanship.


Then, I think, hey, maybe I could make something fun out of them. A bird feeder perhaps?

Oh, I could play dress-up with my favorite childhood toy, the Howdy-Doody ventriloquist doll. Pretend that Howdy Doody is a fellow XLH’er. Ask him if he also has large veins in his arms, from having to have his blood tested so often. Now that I am older, and the doctor has to test my blood for other things, like high cholesterol, nurses and phlebotomists love those large veins. I am an easy stick.

“Hey, Howdy, remember those awful shoes we had to wear with the slots in the sole?”


A trellis for bean plants? Too short. Go figure.


A tool holder! Awesome. Wendy, Bob the Builder’s girlfriend, likes this idea.


I welcome your ideas.

© S. G. Hunter and Banjogrrldiaries, 2012-2017