Okay, I missed the deadline and I am doing this as a blog not an Instagram post, but I was inspired by the Photo Assignment project from KPCC’s Public Square.
Going clockwise, from the upper left, I present:
1) A souvenir depiction of the one-pilar pagoda in Hanoi that I got on a trip there in the early 1990s. From 1987 to 2012, I worked internationally, spending up to 50% of the year on the road and in the air, traveling the far corners of Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. I have hundreds of other remnants from past trips, but this one holds a special place in my heart since that was an exciting time to visit Vietnam as it was just opening up to the west.
2) Trying to name one favorite book is impossible, and this one is by no means my absolute favorite, but I love the concept and title, The Book Remembers Everything which chronicles the one-of-a-kind books made by artist Erica Van Horn. Her works are a bit like this project, a collection of remnants embedded with meaning and memory.
3) A tin type of my great uncle Will taken in Poughkeepsie, NY, just before he became a soldier in the Union Army during the civil war. He died 35 years before I was born, and his widow, Carrie, died 20 years before I was born. She was 30 years his junior and a child during the civil war. My mother had tales of Carrie living with my grandparents in her last years when dementia had overtaken her. She always thought the 4th of July was the Confederate army coming to overtake Cincinnati. Once my mother and a friend dressed up in adult clothes and called on her pretending to be old friends, and she served them high tea and recounted stories of their youth in the 1880s.
4) A coffee mug I bought at the gift shop at Parc Güell in Barcelona. Another travel trinket from my favorite city in the world and part of my morning ritual.
5) An iron horse that is part of a three piece set that I have and that was on our fire place mantel growing up. They were ubiquitous in homes in the 1950s and 1960s, and I even saw one in the record producer’s office in Inside Llewyn Davis. The three I have are all tripods from years of play with them by me, friends, and cousins. A few years back I found one with all four legs that I got at the Alemany Farmers Market, so they are now a quartet.
6) The collar from my first basenji, Bow, complete with her Cook County vaccination tags from before she lived with me. It is part of a shrine I have to her in my home. Sadly, we were together for only two and a half years when I lost her to a brain tumor. She came to me at an important time after a great deal of loss of human life and just as the financial crisis hit in 2008. She was like a sacred teacher and supporter of me during that time period, and I think of her still every day.
None of these things have any particular financial value and are not the most important things in my home. But they represent a fitting mosaic of the items that hold meaning.