Some of us place immense sentimental value on objects, and some of us don’t. I am of the former group. I have letters from my teen years, and three foot tall knight in shining armor. I have my mother’s old books, records, and coins, and a t-shirt that belonged to my father when he was a teenager. But the oldest thing I have that’s mine is my blanket. It was a gift from my aunt when I was none or ten years old. It is the softest thing I have. In high school, I rolled it up and took it with me to Spain and England to ease homesickness. I took it with me when I studied abroad in Florence. While driving across the country to move to Los Angeles, I forgot it in a hotel room in Ohio. They found it and mailed it back to me, thank god. I wash it in cold water on the delicate cycle and air dry it. I wrap it around myself every night. Sometimes, if I have a nightmare, I turn the blanket over to the blue side, because I think maybe the red side somehow allowed the nightmares through. I don’t know what I will do when it finally falls apart.
For this Sunday’s list, we asked Entropy contributors, “What’s the oldest thing you have?”
David S. Atkinson:
The oldest thing I have is a coin from the 1898 Trans-Mississippi International Exposition in Omaha. Ut’s in storage right now because I’m mid-move, but here’s a picture of another one. I got it while reading a novel set at the Exposition and kept it because I still can’t believe Omaha ever had a World’s Fair.
In 1984 my grandpa and my mom stood in line for hours and hours the week of Christmas to get a Cabbage Patch doll for me. She’s named for Amelia Earhart because my grandpa is a pilot. I still have Amelia, and she still has everything but her clothes, apparently. (Also she picked up a few stitches and some nail polish along the way.)
I have a fossil of a tiny ammonite and a leaf from Svalbard in the Arctic which I found myself at the bottom of a glacier the first time I was there. The melt water was so cold it felt like it was going to take my fingers off. The fossils are millions of years old, but I don’t know how many.
Erin Hart Wisti:
Nilla will be sixteen in May. She is the oldest thing I have.
This is pocket watch is from November 1917: Elgin, size 16, 3/4 plate, grade 157. It was my grandfather’s brother’s; he died in the German army in WWI. The case is a replacement and from the late ’40s.
A locket that my grandmother had as a baby (was that a thing in the 30s, necklaces for babies, how Victorian and dangerous!)– AH was her initials. I wore it for awhile when she gave it to me in college, but the chain is so thin I was afraid of breaking it. She noticed I didn’t have it on at thanksgiving. “I thought you said you never take it off,” she said stormily.
The oldest thing i have is an antique Thesaurus I got at a thrift store.
My first framed photo of our family cabin in the Adirondacks, outside of Tupper Lake, New York. Primarily used as a hunting/ fishing lodge, this cabin has exited in my family since my grandfather was a young boy. Originally built by Dell, a hermit who gave up living among the local population, and lived among the animals and deep woods. Fantastic memories!
Dennis James Sweeney:
This pocket knife was my grandpa’s, pulled out of his bin of pocket knives a few years ago. I don’t know when he got it or where it’s from, but I do know that I accidentally brought it in a carry-on in the airport once and when I realized what I’d done, hid it in a shoe that was in my bag in the hopes that it wouldn’t get taken away. That was a bad idea. They didn’t arrest me, but they probably should have. The security guard let me go out of security and mail the knife back to my house via one of those little bins they have. It’s a cool knife. I bet it’s been through worse.
I think the oldest thing I currently own is this volcanic rock that Sueyeun Juliette Lee brought back for me from Iceland. I don’t know exactly how old it is but I imagine very. A runner-up is”holy dirt” from El Santuario de Chimayo in New Mexico.
This isn’t technically the oldest thing I own, but definitely the oldest emotional connection I have with an object. When I was a kid, I had a white tiger stuffed animal named White Tiger. He was my ENTIRE WORLD for about 8-9 years. Whenever I staged dramas with my animals, White Tiger was the lead. He went to school with me in my backpack. He was with me whenever I had surgeries. I invented a superhero, White Tiger Man, who could turn into a white tiger and had a white tiger sidekick named White Tiger. He was Hobbes to my Calvin. I’ve always loved White Tiger, but it was only recently that I found out the circumstances that he came to me, during my parents’ separation and divorce and our move to a new city. He was exactly the friend and protector I needed at that time.