3 thoughts on “What Is An Important Memento To You?”

  1. Thirty years ago, as a budding activist, I started to get exposed to the huge environmental challenges facing the world. I talked with my family (immediate and extended) about what I was learning and doing, especially regarding climate change. I shared what people could do on a personal level, while also weaving in changes that needed to be made systemically.

    Grandma Raines, in one of the most thoughtful gifts presented to me, gave me a green wool cardigan. First, you know, so I wouldn’t have to turn up the thermostat so soon or as much when it got chilly or cold outside. And secondly, she remarked that people her age often collectively did (or wore) things like this to conserve on resources needed for more important societal efforts.

    Sometimes I wonder if I should actually wear the sweater, but to this day, I’ve let it sit in a chest that holds many of my personal keepsakes.

  2. I have a collector’s mentality. If I like a book by an author, I want to have all books by him or her. If I like one song by an musician, I want to get their entire back catalogue.

    It’s similar with mementos. I have lots and lots of things from my past that I have imbued with emotional meaning.

    For example, I try to keep all cards that are sent to me: birthday cards, Christmas cards, thank you cards, etc. On my desk I have several framed pictures, as well as a couple of picture albums with photos from when I was younger.

    Five years ago, I completed a cross-country bicycle trip, and I still have a number of mementos of that trip, including a blog of the entire trip complete with pictures and stories, of course, but also physical tchotchkes like a plastic dinosaur given to me by a friend I stayed with, or an arts and craft project made by a friend’s daughter at camp and given to me to remember her by. On my bicycle helmet, I still have the mirror given to me by a trail angel in Chadron, Nebraska after the one I had been using was broken, complete with duct tape we used to jury-rig the whole thing to make it fit. I could replace it with a mirror that is not damaged, but the older one still works, so why not keep it? Sure, it’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but it makes me happy when I think of it.

    I still have stuffed animals I had as a child.

    There are things like that all over the house.

    Perhaps the most meaningful of my mementos, however, are probably the ones from my wedding. When Marsha and I got married, we had an elaborate ceremony filled with elements borrowed from cultures from around the world. Many of those involved physical objects that we still have: a Japanese sake set; three candles, one for each of us and a third for our unity; an earthenware water jug with two spouts for drinking; garlands placed around our necks; a hand-knitted (by a friend!) blanket that we were wrapped in to symbolize our union; a wedding certificate signed by all the guests in attendance, which is hanging on our dining room wall.

    It comforts me to have these things surrounding me, and occasionally I like to spend an afternoon going through this box of trinkets, or that photo album, remembering moments that are special to me. It feels like I am honoring the past.

  3. I have a foot locker full of keepsakes. There are various items ranging from my infancy to the infancy of my children. Probably the items that are most important to me are a stuffed owl that I was given as an infant (I have a picture of a 6 month old me reaching for it) and a shirt that all three of my boys wore home from the hospital after their births.

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