Sunday, May 4, 2003

Prize possessions

Pineapples enhance friendships

By Marsie Hall Newbold
Enquirer Contributor

Who: Shirley A. Neumann, a lifelong west-sider now living at Evergreen Retirement Community in Hartwell.

Shirley A. Neumann holds a pineapple-shaped lamp.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
| ZOOM |
What: Her pineapple memorabilia collection including jewelry, cutting boards, crystal art objects, bookends, lamps, china, clothing, stationery, handmade bowls and plates, letter openers and pitchers. She also owns teapots, hot pads, finials and a doorknocker.

Where: Throughout her beautifully appointed cottage, which has a pineapple flag hanging out front to greet visitors.

First lady: Neumann began collecting pineapples more than 20 years ago when her late husband, Dr. Hilmer Neumann, was Grand Master of Masons of Ohio. "As his wife I was going to have to be entertaining a lot," she recalls. "So, I had to come up with ideas for decorations. The pineapple was a perfect choice as it is the universal symbol of hospitality."

Token of their esteem: As the couple traveled throughout the state, they gave everyone they met a small, embroidered pineapple stick-on patch. It wasn't long before the tropical fruit became their trademark. So much so, that at the banquet capping Dr. Neumann's year of service, pineapples were part of the centerpieces.

Just juicy: "The collection rolled on from there," she explains. "But what makes it nice is I use a lot of my pineapple things on an everyday basis, like my china and placemats.

"I love pineapples, they have brought me a lot of fun and happiness, plus so many of my friends have taken it up and bought them for me. All I have to do is look around and be reminded of how many friends I have."

Friendly gesture: For example: A couple that she knows recently showed up at her door with a pineapple motif beach bag filled with pineapple treats such as a huge yellow beach towel, note cards, a photo album, a pitcher and a yellow glass pineapple with a green top.

"It wasn't my birthday or a holiday," she exclaims. "I asked why they did it and they said, 'Oh, we were just looking around and saw these things and decided you needed them.'

"What a wonderful thing for them to do. That's why collecting pineapples has been so much fun. So many people over the years have been so kind. They see pineapples and think of me."

Share your prize possessions with Marsie Hall Newbold by mail: c/o The Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati, 45202; e-mail: Please include a daytime telephone number.

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