Friday, June 02, 2006

The amazing umbrella cover museum of Nancy 3

Recently an acquaintance told me about a museum he'd visited that is dedicated to the umbrella cover.

Yes, you heard me right: the umbrella cover. Those little thingees that cover umbrellas. The ones people like me lose almost the first time they use any umbrella.

And where do those umbrella covers go? The way of the single sock and the lost button? No; they apparently find a home at the umbrella cover museum in Peak's Island, Maine, billed as "the world's only umbrella cover museum." I believe the hype; it's hard to imagine that there would be more than one.

The museum's owner, Nancy 3 Hoffman (no, that number is not a typo), is not the sort to lose umbrella covers. Au contraire. She speaks of the genesis of her rather singular establishment:

When asked what inspired her to open such an unusual museum, Nancy 3. replied, "I was cleaning out my house one day, and discovered that I still had all of the covers from all of the umbrellas I'd ever bought (seven or so). That got me thinking. Then one day, around 1992, I was in a dime store and I stole a cover off of an umbrella . . . just the cover. Then I knew I was hooked. After that I started planning the Museum and soliciting donations for the exhibits."

...Umbrella covers currently on display at the Umbrella Cover Museum hail from thirty countries. Regular Museum events include guided tours and the singing of "Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella," with accordion accompaniment.

Accordion accompaniment. Yes indeed, if you're going to have an umbrella cover museum , you must have accordion accompaniment.

Take a look at one of the items featured in the museum's esoteric collection:

What is it? Why, an umbrella cover made of gum wrappers, of course.

I combed the website seeking an explanation of Nancy 3 Hoffman's unusual middle name, but found nothing. It's ignored, as though having a numeral for a middle initial were a commonplace thing, hardly worthy of mention and certainly not worth discussing.

But I have a theory. I think that Nancy 3 might be a Tom Lehrer devotee. Having been raised on Lehrer myself (see this), I recognize a possible allusion to Lehrer's intro to his classic song "We Will All Go Together When We Go:"

I am reminded at this point of a fellow I used to know whose name was Henry, only to give you an idea of what a individualist he was, he spelled it H-E-N-3-R-Y. The three was silent, you see.

Nancy 3 is certainly an individualist, as well. As is her museum.

And all of this is just a complex segue into my announcement: today I'm on my way to Seattle for a vacation. That's why I've got umbrellas on the brain. My plan is to continue to blog while I'm away. So, I'm off!


At 1:15 PM, June 02, 2006, Blogger stumbley said...

I am reminded of that wonderful line from Robert Towne's script for "Chinatown":

"I don't blame myself. You see,
Mr. Gittes, most people never
have to face the fact that at
the right time and right place,
they're capable of anything."

An umbrella cover museum. Amazing.

At 1:59 PM, June 02, 2006, Blogger Steven said...

Perhaps her parents were fans of the Peanuts comic strip. About 40 years ago Charles Schulz introduced a character named "5" who proved to be short-lived.

There is a reporter named Jennifer 8. Lee at the New York Times these days.

At 2:32 PM, June 02, 2006, Blogger douglas said...

"Then one day, around 1992, I was in a dime store and I stole a cover off of an umbrella . . . just the cover. Then I knew I was hooked."

Hooked? Klepto, anyone?

We've run into a toddler named Nine at the park where our son plays...

Lehrer... Now that was clever stuff.

At 4:33 PM, June 02, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

That is bizzare.

At 9:20 PM, June 02, 2006, Blogger nyomythus said...

omg she must be a Librarian

At 11:30 PM, June 02, 2006, Blogger camojack said...

The 3 is silent? Reminds me of the blonde M & M inspector joke...the one who kept throwing out the 3's, W's and E's. Production was down by 75%...

At 11:49 PM, June 02, 2006, Blogger nyomythus said...

lol, camojack, that's clever :D

... different perspectives

At 12:07 AM, June 03, 2006, Blogger strcpy said...

We had a public shooter at the range a few months back whose first name was "9" - not "Nine" but "9". His middle name was a letter, I don't remember which.

He said his parents told him they wanted a name easy to spell and remember. It was cheap for things that cost per letter. I just said "Oh, OK". I wondered if they were some type of drug user from the 60's, I've known some people with strange names that thier parents were that.

I always wondered if it felt normal to him. I suppose it would personally - it's what you grew up with - but if he met someone named "2" would he think "weird"?

At 8:56 AM, June 03, 2006, Blogger Sissy Willis said...

The Portland Press Herald has the scoop:

She replaced her middle initial with a number five years ago because she thought a number would sound "interesting and amusing." It took some time; she plugged all the primary digits into her name to see how each would sound.

"I guess being a performer I want people to notice me, so it helps to be a little different," Hoffman said.

Meanwhile, bon voyage, and let your smile be you know what.

At 12:01 AM, June 04, 2006, Blogger anonymess said...

You deserve a rest. You've earned one. I imagine I speak for the majority of your readers when I say we'll more than understand if your weekly output of posts is reduced a bit during your vacation--if not, it truly wouldn't be much of a vacation.

Perhaps you could feature some of your "best of" posts or a re-run of your series of "change" posts. I'm sure there are plenty of readers, new and old, who would appreciate your spotlighting these posts and who would use the opportunity to contribute fresh comments to them--as you know, time and events can change peoples' opinions and perspectives.

At 10:13 AM, June 04, 2006, Blogger Promethea said...

If you ever find yourself near Melbourne, Australia, you must check out the Giant Worm Museum.

Closer to home, in southern Wisconsin, is the Mustard Museum. Another must-see.

At 6:43 PM, June 04, 2006, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

I love visiting the obscure museums where I travel. There is a shovel museum, a failed medical devices museum, a cigarette lighter museum, a Wizard Of Oz museum...

I suspect the 3 went into Henry because it's an easy typing error to make.

At 3:23 AM, June 05, 2006, Blogger douglas said...

Speaking of interesting museums, the Musée de l'Art Brut in Lausanne, Switzerland is a curiousity.
"It focuses on crude art created by eccentric and criminally insane artists."
Not that the works are that good, but it's interesting because of the genre, and you play around trying to make sense of madness relfected in art...


Post a Comment

<< Home

Powered by Blogger