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Taking Things Seriously

A Celebration of the Stuff that Stays with You

You don’t know how much seemingly trivial possessions mean to you until you move, and someone (usually your spouse) wants to know exactly why you need to bring random-thing-you-never-use along for the ride! And then you try to explain it, and it sounds so silly, and you might even start to cry. Because while it is still hard to justify, random-thing-you-never-use better make it into the box because it’s just that important to you, and you leave it at that…
Taking Things Seriously
A Celebration of the Stuff that Stays with You

You don’t know how much seemingly trivial possessions mean to you until you move, and someone (usually your spouse) wants to know exactly why you need to bring random-thing-you-never-use along for the ride! And then you try to explain it, and it sounds so silly, and you might even start to cry. Because while it is still hard to justify, random-thing-you-never-use better make it into the box because it’s just that important to you, and you leave it at that…

I know I’m not alone in this, because Joshua Glenn and Carol Hayes created a nifty collection of essays and photographs entitled Taking Things Seriously: 75 Objects with Unexpected Significance. The stories are fascinating: from the beautiful cocktail glass that prompted a trip to Morocco, to the “ugly-pretty” doll one woman brought along to the delivery room (that later became her daughter’s favorite toy). They’re all things their owners won’t part with, with all the not-really-so-silly reasons why.

Over the past two decades, I’ve moved 13 times. I’ve kept, among other things: A cashmere sweater stolen from my dad’s dresser drawer (now somewhat moth-eaten, but still the clothing equivalent of a warm hug). An apothecary jar with words “methyl orange” etched on it that once belonged to my grandfather, a physician. The woefully out-of-date Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary that I got for a summer writing program when I was still in high school (and has the name of my summer crush doodled on the cover).

What possessions have been surprisingly significant to you? What objects will you never part with?