The Katoomie story

What brought us all here?

It's a story that began long before I was born.

The items on this site were left to us by our very Dear Uncle. The most obvious words to describe him are, very thoughtful, humble, modest, a softly spoken academic man, with a gifted intellect, unassuming, and smartly dressed. He devoured books, poetry and literature - and without doubt the most intelligent and knowledgeable man I’ve known.

As far back as I can recall as a young child in the 70's, I remember my Uncles small but immaculate house, welcoming me with a warm hallway, which I knew led to a particular large brown door at its end, just past the soft-carpeted stairway. Behind that door was a very special room. 15 ft square of a warmly lit wooden basketweave floor, a large reading chair and lamp in the center of the room with numerous 6-foot glass cabinets around its perimeter displaying my Uncles most favourite treasures. The walls were laced with decorative plates, carvings and tapestries. Compared to the hallway this room was cooler and had a clean hard wood aroma. It was literally an Aladdin’s cave to a grown-up, not least a child. I could only wonder what else was on all those other shelves that towered above me, but never got to wonder too long there were literally hundreds of beautiful things that I could see spanning the room, looking back at me through the spotless glass.

Although I was never permitted to open the glass or touch anything, I was trusted to enjoy with my eyes only. However, I would be excited knowing full well that when I heard the trot of my Uncles feet on the stairs, it would then only be a moment before he would be bobbed down staring into the glass with me to ask in a quiet well spoken voice: "which one shall we look at today?” With a knowing smirk, my Uncle waited patiently for my best descriptive response before he eagerly yet delicately unclipped the glass then carefully swinging it open to remove the item in question. Sill bobbed down, he would slowly turn to face me and display the item in his flat open palm. Then a privileged moment where he would describe the object and its details and materials, and then how he came to own it. If the texture of the object was to be touched to be understood, he would first demonstrate with careful attention to the surfaces, and finally give the item one last full brush of his hand before inviting me to share its texture, as if something magic could happen. You could have heard a pin drop! 

These delightful memories played out throughout my childhood with every visit, with always something new to spot, and still continued with the same delight to me as an adult.  Due to illness in his senior years, he could no longer consider travelling abroad after 2008, but still bought items that caught his attention right up until his last days. My own young children enjoyed a few years of the same wonderful experiences with their Great Uncle and that wonderful room before he passed away.

My Uncle made his wishes clear to us on what best to do with all these beautiful things after his passing. Of course the most precious objects to our memory will be kept in our family - however, my Uncle knew they are too numerous to keep all of them in storage, hiding away, instead to profit on their value for our family's future and in turn allowing others too enjoy the same beauty that captured my Uncles heart when he came to own each and every item listed here.

During a long career as a teacher, he never married or had children, but instead led a life that took every opportunity to travel the world in search of cultural stimulation, and found wonder in so many things. But none more so than ornaments and crafted items of beauty he found upon his travels. He had a particular love of Egyptian, Chinese, Ethnic and Tribal cultures. Also a love of all things feline, he would admit this was his weakness. He adored cats, and I remember him stating how “I so admire their instincts”. My Uncle was a quiet man who asked nothing of anyone, and never talked about his own endeavours - his work with charitable organisations for children and helping homeless people on his travels was largely unknown to me until after his passing when I met people he had known throughout his life. In his honour of nobility I won’t digress, but just so proud to say he was more of a saint than I ever realised.

 

My Uncle also created a vast library of thousands of books - all typically looked after with great care and kept in the same condition as the day he bought them. Half of these books are novels; the other half consists of subjects like: artists and art, collections of literature and classic works, historical, cultural, especially Chinese and Egyptian, and a treasure trove of books for the cat lover, as well as children’s books. I know for a fact many of these books were bought because of the known illustrator or superb imagery. So many of these books are so very beautiful and we are hoping to find them the right home for them, and invite schools and educational bodies to come forward with requests if they find material they can use today, we will consider shipping them out free of charge.

The name Katoomie is dear to us and respectfully withhold its meaning - although it stands for the beautiful things, things that have known love, and recycling this for the future.

 

Thanks for reading.