Mementos: It’s all about their meaning

Inspiration, connection, reminder, gift, promise, apparently these are some of the things mementos are made of.  A little challenged, This Girl took a walk around my house and looked at what was on my shelves and walls, I pulled out a few drawers, and moved some things around.

At first I didn’t think I had any. I thought the things I kept were just standard possessions. Then I reflected on their symbolism. I uncovered things that were unassuming, but I keep them for their meaning not their function. I have a box that once held 1000 envelopes. I don’t remember why I needed the envelopes, but the box has come in handy. I pulled it down from the
top of my wardrobe where it collects dust and pored through it.

I found thank you letters from my nieces for presents bought for them as children. I didn’t see them grow up so keeping these little things helped me feel that maybe I wasn’t so far away and I could still enjoy the childhood I didn’t see. I found photos of loved ones like my friends’ newborns. I found thank you cards from workplaces farewelled. Best wishes kept to remind me of my capacity and contribution, that I made a difference.

I remembered a Scottish beret shoved carelessly in one of my drawers.  My dad at 80 plus periodically goes through his stuff because he doesn’t want to be weighed down in his final years. I guess he wants to be ready to just get up and go when he’s called. He’s always been so proud of his Scottish heritage. It explains both my Scottish names. It is also a miracle I survived a childhood listening to bagpipe records and I confess a fondness for ‘Scotland the Brave’. I took the beret when he offered it, and a book on the clans and tartans of Scotland, because it connects me to him and our heritage.

My dear heart has a dichotomy: clinging impermanence and a fundamental drive to establish place. As we’ve grown closer, I thought he might become more comfortable in
my space. I hoped he’d feel as if he could leave a little bit of himself here. But his things are always gathered hastily up, stuffed in, shut tight, and taken away.

Subverting him, I took his photo. Like a cultural cliche, I stole part of his essence, and placed it in my home. His photo is a symbol. He can wash the night’s dishes, pack up all his things, remove every sign, but he is here. Because I’m here, and he’s with me.

These are my mementos. I keep them because of their meaning: inspiration, connection, reminder, gift, promise, all those things and no doubt more.

What are your mementos and why do you keep them?

If you liked this blog post, why don’t you read the post that inspired it, guest blogger Russell Kelly’s You Are Your Mementos.

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