For years (at least until he and Mom became empty nesters), that’s all Dad had – his workbench in the basement. That was his private space. And that’s where many of the few personal items and knick-nacks that he accumulated during his life ended up.
Dad just didn’t have a lot of stuff. He didn’t collect anything, and never bought stuff just to have. The few items he saved were mostly things that had been given to him, or items he didn’t know what else to do with. Almost all of it would have fit in a shoebox.
For a long time, I had no idea what it was or what you were supposed to do with it. What was that hole in the top for, anyway? Eventually I figured out it was a predecessor of the popular Chia pet of the 1970s.
As he got older, Dad eventually starting giving away his stuff to us kids, and I ended up with the grinning head. From time to time, I display him on my bookshelf. Recently, I wondered: Where’d this thing come from originally? Who manufactured it?
Well, thanks to the internet, I now have a few ideas. Recently on a few different websites, I found the ad below for Paddy and his growing hair. There are other ads where he’s identified as Paddy O'Hair.
Canadian illustrator Ian Phillips collects these “seed heads” and also has accumulated some cool vintage ads for them. (Click here to visit his blog.) This ad (below) from his blog shows some similar novelty items, which were manufactured right here in Ohio by the Robinson-Ramsbottom Pottery Company of Roseville, Ohio. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dad’s seed head was manufactured in Ohio as well.
Anyway, unlike Dad, I have way too much stuff and need to downsize, as a move is in my future. But somehow, I think I’ll always make room for Paddy.