Objects from the past

I’m currently reading Treasures the stories women tell about the things they keep

What a fascinating read! 

I stumbled on the book in a secondhand store, but I’ve seen Treasures in online open libraries as well.

It’s a collection of stories culled from interviews with more than 100 women of different ages and backgrounds.  They were asked about the objects they collected, kept and treasured – from letters, photos and clothing to a myriad of objects ranging from everyday items to artworks.  These items might be proudly displayed, or hidden in a shoebox out of sight.

Through this research, the authors learned that the collections have deep meaning and that keeping an item is an act of self-definition.

In 2004 when the book was published, author Dr. Kathleen V. Cairns was a professor and clinical psychologist with the Division of Applied Psychology in the Faculty of Education at the University of Calgary.  Dr. Eliane Leslau Silverman was a professor and head of Women’s Studies at the same university.  There is very little online about either of them.

I had not given much thought to the things I keep, nor my reasons for keeping them.  Now, reading this book, I understand more about myself.  I realize that the things I keep are everywhere in my home:  some used often, and others carefully stored and occasionally displayed.

In addition to the more typical kept items, I still use my mother’s maple rolling pin, sans handles, and my mother-in-law’s big spoon.  I keep the broken leather gloves that protected my hands in a bicycle accident; they remind me of that safety lesson.  My dad was an old-school tailor, and I keep his thimbles and threads.  These things solidify my connection to the past.  I’m surrounded and cocooned and reminded of strength, experience and stories.

Though she never met my mother, my daughter treasures her copy of A Woman Called Fancy by Frank Yerby.

What things do you keep, and why?  What do they say about you?