Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, writing-related question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: We all have those ‘things’ we cherish that may not make sense to the rest of the family. What is your most prized mundane possession? Why do you value it so much?
Diane MacKinnon: My Rollerblades. The first time I saw people Rollerblading in Central Park, I thought “I could do that!” When I got my refund check from the IRS the following spring, I walked to the skate shop in my neighborhood of Brooklyn and bought a pair. I put the Rollerblades on my feet, put my sneakers in the box, and skated home. The next day I put my new skates on, clomped down the stairs of my third floor apartment and headed to Prospect Park. I did three loops of the park before heading home. It wasn’t until I was heading down hill toward Grand Army Plaza (huge rotary with many, many speeding cars) that I realized I didn’t know how to use the brake. I decided to fall before I hit the traffic and the next day I practiced using the brake before I headed back to the park. My Rollerblades symbolize being in the zone to me, hard work that feels like play. Freedom and joy. Can’t wait ’til my son is old enough to join me in my flight!
Wendy Thomas: I am a collector of all things little. Sitting by my desk I have a little jester doll I picked up in London, a tiny Waldorf Fall witch doll, a glass chicken (or two) and some glass stars in a small clay pot upon which to count my blessings.
I realized early on that I am very tactile. I stink at recalling things from memory (I pray I am never asked to recall details for a police sketch “well, um, he had a nose.”) but if I’m holding something from that memory, a pebble, a postcard, I can remember it all, in vivid detail.
I tend to favor items that hold a little bit of magic. The memory of a perfect picnic, a vacation where I discovered something new about the kids or myself. A trinket someone gave me in time of need. One single favorite? Couldn’t choose, they all combine to form a tapestry of my life.
Lisa Jackson: Fun question, And since I’ve twice downsized my living space dramatically in the past 5 years, there are a couple of things that leap out at me. One in particular is my high school jacket. I loved high school – the learning aspect, not the bullying or peer pressure – and I loved our mascot and the school colors. I didn’t letter in any sports, as I was a lot more nerd thank athlete type, but I got a beautiful jacket when I could and I still have it.
It has my first name stitched on the left side, the high school name, and beautiful mascot image on the back. The exterior is in primo condition, the interior, not so much, and it no longer fits. I don’t keep it in a storage container like most people probably would. Nope. I have it (always) hanging in my closet with all the coats I do wear.
I love the memories it brings back of the option to attend classes year-round (which I did) and graduate a year early (which I purposely did not). It reminds me of so many great things that I have to hold on to it and keep it in sight. I like seeing it and having some flashbacks. I have no longing to relive those years as a teenager, I just cherish the pleasant memories and continue to let the not-so-fond memories fade away. Call me crazy, but taking summer classes 3 years in row absolutely rocked for me. A time to explore and try courses that I normally wouldn’t have.
Deborah Lee Luskin: Reading Diane, Wendy and Lisa’s replies each push memory buttons for me. I don’t think I have any ‘thing’ from high school – and I’m not surprised. What I took from those years was how to swim upstream, against the current. A great lesson, though not easy, and not one that allows for baggage. Like Wendy, I have small souvenirs from great expeditions. These are mostly small stones from mountain tops and valley floors, but include a fair number of seashells as well. Of these, the one that gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling every time it turns up is the small snail shell my eldest daughter gave me when she was eighteen months old and we were in Maine. It’s the first gift from a child, and prized. But like Diane, I own one object that puts me in “the zone” and is very special, indeed: a rowing single, made of kevlar and mahogany, purchased when I turned 50. It’s called Rose One, named after both the feisty female character in Into the Wilderness, and because it is a homonym for what it does: rows one. A boat of my own. And every summer morning at dawn, I take it out on the Connecticut River and bliss out in hard work and natural beauty.
Julie Hennrikus: My much beloved grandfather taught me how to play cribbage when I was very, very young. Actually, he didn’t teach me, he taught my parents and I watched. And then I asked if I could play. With the patience of Job, he said yes. And so it began, a shared hobby with one of my favorite people. My grandfather build things for his grandchildren, and may of them have survived. But my favorite item is a cribbage board made out of a bed slat. The holes are hand drilled. At the end there is a larger hole for the “pegs” covered with an piece of aluminum that swings out on a large screw. And the pegs are nails. I have one of the boards, my parents have one, and my uncle has one. None of us use store bought boards, we all use the bed slat boards. My grandfather died 31 years ago, and I still miss him. But his cribbage board lives on.
Susan Nye: When I first read this question, I thought, “I got nothing.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m a bit of packrat and have more than enough stuff, too much actually. It was the oxymoron that stopped me in my tracks. How could anything prized be mundane?
I have lots of favorite things and none of them are mundane. One of those favorites is my dining room table. It’s an old farmhouse table which I bought when I lived in Switzerland. I love it because it is beautiful. But more important, I love the wonderful evenings shared around that table with family and friends .
Jamie Lee Wallace: Treasures? You’re kidding, right? My house is a veritable museum of treasures. I have baubles and artwork and homemade creations filling every nook and cranny in my tiny, 300 year-old house. Between my daughter (who seems to have inherited my manic need to collect things) and me, our collection is quite impressive. The “nature shelf” alone holds enough stones, shells, feathers, sticks, and other natural gems to make people wonder if we’re a little odd in the head. Add in my scattered collection of miniature sculptures in clay, stone, iron, wood, etc … well … you get the idea. I adore all these small trinkets. They remind me of moments and days and dreams. Each one holds a story or the possibility of a story, and the journey to collect and curate them is a story in itself. Here is a picture of one of our groupings arranged in an antique type tray: