The cover story of the December 29th New York Times Magazine was “The Lives They Lived” and it featured profiles of a number of celebrities and luminaries who died in 2013. What I found most interesting were the photos of possessions belonging to some of those profiled: James Gandolfini’s battered Cadillac. Editta Sherman’s tube of red lipstick. Esther Williams’ swimsuit. The gloves Scott Carpenter wore in Space.
I especially liked that the Times used the phrase “Objects of Affection” to describe the things people loved. That’s my phrase, too.
I’ve always been fascinated by the things we hold dear, the things we hold on to. Over the years, in my Treasure Hunting columns and Spokesman.com blog posts, I’ve shared the story behind a number of my own favorite possessions, but in November 2013, I started a series on my Treasure Hunting blog featuring the “Objects of Affection” of people in our community. I sent out an email to some of my Facebook connection asking if they’d be willing to share the stories of their favorite objects. The response was immediate and fascinating. Men, women, and even a child, wrote of their love for ordinary objects that ranged from sheet music to paper mementoes to childhood toys to jewelry to heirloom furniture and artwork.
My idea was to give ordinary people a chance to share their fondness for ordinary objects. I was able to post a few before the busyness of the holiday season overwhelmed me--this is a personal project, not an assignment-- but in 2014 I’m looking forward to getting more stories up on a regular basis.
Consider this your invitation to show and tell. What is the thing you hold onto? Why? Send me an email (subject heading “Object”) at email@example.com and I’ll do the rest.
Oh, and the photo above? That’s one of my own objects of affection. It’s the old yellow ware bowl in my kitchen. It was in my mother’s kitchen and my grandmother’s kitchen before that. I’ve written about it a number of times over the years because I can’t imagine living in a house without it.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap’s audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the U.S. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” (available at Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane) and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org