I have a not-so-secret obsession. Vaporizers. Specifically, the Hankscraft model 240 cool mist kind. This is a longstanding addiction – lasting well over 40 years. I have a multitude of childhood memories of studying, reading, laughing, drawing, sleeping, eating, and even socializing, within a five foot radius of one of these beauties. Ask any of the people I have dated or lived with about this, and they will likely shake their head and laugh a little. As I said, it’s not really a secret.
The vaporizer is great as a sleep aid, but it’s not just the noise that I crave. It’s the cool mist, too. I like how it hangs in the air… and I like how it feels on my face. When I was little I was fascinated by how the tiny droplets of water would attach to every hair on my arm like frost on the trees.
The 240 is also an instant anxiety reducer for me. I think it goes back to when I was little and I would make “ditches” on the floor whenever I was stressed out or sad. I would take all of the pillows and cushions that I could find lying around the house, and pile them up in a big ring on the floor. I’d pull books and food and stuffed friends into the ditch with me, and I’d set up the vaporizer at the outside edge, pointing toward the center. I could sit there happily for HOURS, listening to the steady background hum of the machine.
There’s a saying that all good things must end… unfortunately, this includes vaporizers. The Hankscraft company started in Wisconsin, was purchased by Gerber, and later purchased by another company… and then divided… and renamed. Part of the original company continued to make vaporizers for a while, but eventually the model 240 was discontinued. This was devastating for me. I couldn’t go to Walgreens and pick up a new machine whenever the old one wore out.
About 10 years ago I discovered my beloved model 240 on eBay, and I’ve bid on a few. My husband jokes that he can tell when I’ve won another vaporizer because there is a certain sized box on the doorstep. I’ve got several in the basement now… in reserve. It’s comforting to know that I have a little bit of inventory handy.
For better or for worse, I’ve imparted my love of this machine onto my daughter. If it’s running, she’ll sit next to it with me, and we’ll laugh, tell stories, read, write… I hope that I’ll have enough inventory for her when she gets older and moves out. I’m not sure, though… maybe I need to get back on eBay?
Message of the Day: Childhood items can impart memories the instant you see/hear/smell/touch them. If your memories are good ones, it might be wise to keep one or two of these items on hand in case you ever need comfort. If your memories are bad ones… stay away from eBay.