Everybody knows the stereotyped housewife. No, not the one who's beaten down laden with domestic chores, children and an absent husband. Progress has moved us on a bit. Now that role is just as likely to be played by the house-husband. The housewifely image which endured for years before that though was a house-proud woman, Queen of her domestic scene, everything in its right place in this domain. The reward: serenity.
That's what the ads told us in every way for years. Here's a glimpse of another woman who happens to be my wife. But it could just as well be my neighbour. Both could have been boys - for example, they usually carry in their pockets or handbags, string, stones, needles, bluetak - you know the sort of thing that could come in handy one day.
Their kitchen third drawer is a treasure chest of the miscellaneous, but nothing compared to the Secret Kitchen Box I discovered in a forced clean out as we prepared for a new cooktop. I say Secret, because She often shooed me away when I tried to figure out what was in the box. But time passes, the Berlin Wall falls, Mandela is freed and when the cooktop blew, I had to remove this coveted cardboard box. More junk I thought (in the absence of a squeaky clean woman, I'm it). But what wondrous junk, even for the squeaky clean.
Archives might even be interested in some of this material. For a start there's a TV3 souvenir watch, handed out when the network launched, but like the pre-crash TV3, stalled at 11.20pm; there's a ping pong ball (for the grandkids if only we'd known where it was); magic dots, yet to cast their spells, a ball of twine I've been hunting for years on the basis that I must have put it in a Safe Place; artists' paintbrushes large and small, strips of leather which might come in handy, slices of rubbery things (just could be useful wedges), an envelope with a 1994 cheque yet to be cashed, and ah - discovery of discoveries - a roll of undeveloped film!
There is for the late, uninitiated, a pamphlet with a brief history of darts,(did you know that the Pilgrim Fathers brought it to the New World on the Mayflower? Me neither). And for those with a nose for figures and history, a Statistics Department, pamphlet on a vanished world, New Zealand, 1990.
Beneath these gems is the detritus of long dead batteries, cardboard strips (always good for making things and notepaper when paper can't be found), corks, a ruler, paper clips clinging to unused magnets, a broken candle stand, and just to keep memories fresh from longago maths classes, a compass. It's best not to touch treasure like this in case there's something really valuable I could disturb. Might just nick the twine though.