Her “Mary Gang” is a memory-filled fixture in Susan Heeter’s home.

Most Budget Vogue fashionistas I know are collectors, hunters, gatherers.

My friend Beth has more black pants than she knows what to do with. My friend Kate is a fan of Limoge. It’s lovely to hunt, to gather, to peruse. And today, Budget Vogue fashionistas, I share with you my own collection: my Mary Gang.

Susan Dromey Heeter's Budget Vogue column sig

I am a fan of Mary, the star of the “Hail Mary”, mother of Jesus. I find Mary a great friend, a go-to when I need insight, help, support. And, to remind myself of her ability to heal and comfort, I have my “Mary Gang” around our little house. Mary is everywhere, my icon of spirituality and joy.

Pre-COVID, pre-marriage, pre-children, I traveled quite a lot and would bring home local icons of Mary for my mother. I found Marys in Turkey, in Holland, in Germany, in Mexico, in Poland. When my mother passed, those Mary icons were given to me and I placed them around my home.

My Mary Gang is good to have around, one of my favorite Marys is from the Salvation Army in Saugus, Mass. She’s blue, translucent, heavy glass. I have no idea who donated her or her history, but I keep her in my office. I utilize her insight when I’m stuck on a word, in a funk, in need of hope. I figure she’s been through the gamut, so she’s got some great insight.

The Virgin of Guadalupe is another go-to. If you know her story, it’s a glorious one, particularly around this time of year. The Mary that hangs in our kitchen is bright; she smiles, she brings warmth and has seen me through my children’s infancy, my struggles of life and joys too wonderful to imagine.

It’s good to have a gang, and thrift shops are lovely places to recruit. If you are a collector, do tell. Who’s in the gang getting you through this pandemic?

I wish for you a gang of kindness, love and joy.

Merry Everything, Budget Voguers! Stay close to whatever gang is getting you through.

Susan Dromey Heeter writes and teaches on the Seacoast. Contact her at dromeheet@comcast.net.