Must have been some doll. wow.

Maybe it's time to gently educate your mom -- take her aside, show her your collection, maybe even mention something specific you can use and really need "and I saw one a while back here..." and then let her help you out. She might quietly appreciate the guidance.

This happens to me a lot because I've written about my photography in my column (I did the one on film and Twinkies that is currently highlighted in the news section--yay!), so I get calls often from widows with camera gear from their husband they want to give to me.

With the exception of a Nikkormat outfit and a Leica IIIf (which I insisted on paying for) they're mostly Nikons and other similar consumer-level cameras. If I can use any of the stuff to improve my kit, I do. Then I find the rest a new home -- students are good recipients of these. I gave the Nikkormat outfit to one of the paper's photographers who was anxious to try out this film thing, and he's doing great stuff (www.nickshortstudios.com)

But often it's junk: Polaroids, or a movie camera, or something. Or a ssytem I just can't use -- like the Ricoh outfit someone's husband specifically left to me. I've very flattered but have no use.

But every time I say thank you, promise to use it as well as I can, and then leave and find a handy dumpster. The Ricoh outfit is still downstairs waiting for a home to magically appear. Maybe I'll go up to the local college and see if a student in the photo lab needs a scholarship.