Channeling Madeleine Albright

When meeting with world leaders, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright would signal her mindset by her choice of brooch. I don’t meet with world leaders, but I do wear pins, and I suppose my choices also reflect my way of thinking.

blue-moo-and-pinsI like odd pins, unusual adornments, the kind that most gals probably would pass by. I have pins of dairy cows and flowers, stars and snowflakes, one cowboy, one cowgirl, and several versions of Cy, the Iowa State University mascot. I have a miniature 45 record (from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), a cursive letter L (think Laverne DeFazio), and a tribute to the Green Bay Packers Super Bowl II victory (from a fast food restaurant children’s meal). And I have many more.

I collect pins from various, usually second-hand, sources, such as garage sales, estate sales, and flea markets. But my favorites tend to be those with sentimental value, like my Dad’s Land O’Lakes Indian maiden lapel pin, as well as his 1948 University of Wisconsin Farm Short Course tie tack and chain.

My pin collection got its start thanks to my mother. She gave me my Blue Moo, Avon circa 1973, when I was in the fifth grade or there about. I may have picked it out myself from our Avon Lady’s catalog or Mom may have selected it for me. I don’t remember. Blue Moo is 42 years old, but looks as good as she did in her catalog days and still sports some well-aged Avon fragrance glacé in the secret compartment underneath her smiling bovine face.

My pin collection will never rate a museum showing and its claim to fame will be this blog post. But Madeleine’s? Now there’s a collection to see. You might be able to catch the exhibition of her pin collection that’s been on tour, but if not, take a look at her book, “Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box.”

Laura Sternweis


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