I always loved that song Julie Andrews sang in The Sound of Music. You know the one about her favorite things?
I was thinking about that the other day as I was going through drawers and closets to find things for one of the local charities that is sending its collection truck around soon. I am not a pack rat by any means. We have small closets, no basement, and little storage space, so I have to be selective in what I keep. I have a hard and fast rule when it comes to clothes: If I haven’t worn something in two years, it needs to go.
Some things, however, I find I just can’t part with. For example, I have this fur jacket that was my mother’s. It’s made of mouton lamb, totally out of fashion and has been for decades. It used to be a full-length coat when my mother purchased it in the ’40’s during the War. She was a little Kentucky girl who had eloped with a New York city boy, a dashing lieutenant she had met at a USO dance in Dayton, Ohio. A few weeks later my dad was shipped off to the South Pacific and his parents sent for his new bride. She had never been to New York City before, and my grandparents had never had a daughter, so they couldn’t wait to meet her and take her shopping. My mother had saved her money from her job as a secretary and bought the coat at Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue. She felt like a million bucks in that coat. When I was in high school, she had the coat made into a jacket so I could wear it over my formals when I went to Cotillion. I felt like a million bucks in it, too.
That old coat has hung in my closet for years, taking up valuable space. It has broken my hard and fast rule twenty times over. Yet, I can’t bring myself to get rid of it. Think I’ll leave that task for my daughter after my roll is called up yonder.
I also have a pastry blender that was my mother’s. The red paint’s nearly worn off the handle and the tines are bent and crooked. I have a perfectly good newer one, but I’d rather use that old one because I remember my mother using it all the time when she made pie crusts and biscuits. She was amazing at both and never needed a recipe. With every pass I make through the flour and shortening with that old pastry blender, I’m infusing my cobbler, or pie, or biscuits with memories. They taste better that way.
We all have our favorite things we find it hard to part with, things that other people would look at and wonder why we hang onto. That’s what has kept me from throwing out a threadbare pair of jeans of my husband’s or a T-shirt he has worn in every vacation picture for the past fifteen years. It’s not my call. What are the things you treasure?
Oh, I loved that song, too! It evokes happy memories of childhood. Love this post especially the part about your mom’s fur coat.:)
Salamat, Yen. Glad your memories of childhood are happy ones.
I also have a 3-year rule. Some of things I threw away or got lost, I do regret though. Maybe, when an item contents stories that connect to our life, it become part of our sentiment; then it’s more than just an item.
You wrote such a touching story behind the beautiful coat. Thank you for sharing!
You are so right; it’s not the item itself because that old coat is worthless, but the memories it evokes are priceless. Thanks for your comment, Amy.
Oh I love that song! And yes, I think everybody has some things that he/she just cannot throw away. I’ve got a little box with my most favorite things, but of course not everything fits in there. I’m already looking forward to the day I totally move out from my parents house – not!
Isn’t it a safe feeling being in that house? Hard to give that up, but it’s also wonderful to be on your own, I imagine. I have to laugh because I actually wouldn’t know about that. I lived with my parents until I got married, so I’ve never lived on my own. Hope I never have to find out how that feels.
Off hand, There’s a book of math tables from 1917 that my Dad gave me ( a Friday Favorite a while back) and a jade finger stone (fr rubbing between your fingers to relax) that was my Mom’s. There are probably a lot more … which will probably make a good post on Bud’s Blog ! I enjoyed your post …
Thanks, Bud. Good to hear from you again.
As you know, I’ve been cleaning out my family’s home, and many things have made their way into my home. My sister and I split a pair of purple glass vases. I have a map my dad brought home from WWII rolled up in a pipe, and his pocket knife. And my mom’s wedding dress in the original box, complete with the dried bouquet. Think I’ll have to do a post on that one. Thanks for sharing your treasures. The picture of your mom is priceless.
Sounds like you have some interesting treasures. That’s awesome you have you mom’s wedding dress in such good condition. Would love to see a post on that.
I imagine that you can almost feel your mother’s hand on that pastry blender. And someday, your daughter or granddaughter will feel your hand on it as well. Keep it. It’s a beautiful treasure.
My treasure isn’t nearly as beautiful and I’m afraid no one will ever want it. It’s a couch. My first couch. The first piece of new furniture I ever bought for myself with my first bonus from my first real job, fifteen some-odd years ago. It doesn’t fit with our house, or our other furniture, and it isn’t very comfortable. My husband indulges my attachment to it, but I know he hates it.
The thing is, when I sit on that couch, I remember the best parts of a time in my life when I was completely on my own. Not many of those parts were good, but that couch was. It was independence and accomplishment and whim all wrapped around a great big ‘No one can tell me what I can and cannot do.’
I love everything about where I am now and this beautiful life I have with my husband, and I wouldn’t ever want to go back. But when the time comes to finally give up that couch, I know I’ll cry a little over it.
Great story, Amy. I wouldn’t blame you for crying. I’m smiling as I’m writing this because I’m staring at our old living room couch we bought a year after we got married. We had no money and had no business buying something so expensive, but we loved it and had to have it. We’ll have been married forty years in February, so that couch is 39 years old. Thanks for sharing your wonderful story.
By the way, you should write a blog post about that couch at what it represents.
I’m the opposite of a pack rat, I throw away things I later wish I’d kept! I do have a couple of items of my mothers that I can’t seem to give up. Some things just deserve the space. 🙂
Oh, my, the things I wished I’d kept! I know how you feel. I like the way you put that: Some things just deserve the space. How true.
I have many things I treasure mostly things that belonged to my parents. I have a T-shirt that’s falling apart that my mom wore all the time. I will wear it until I die I suppose. Its hard for me to let go of anything that belonged to her but I am doing it little by little. Loved the coat and i loved that pastry maker. its the antique stuff that catches my eye.
Yes, most of the things I can’t part with were my parents. I wear my dad’s New York University T-shirt to yoga because it’s big and long and it covers my butt when I bend over. I have an old wool sweater of my mom’s that I hate to part with, but it has moth holes in it now, so I guess I’ll chuck it.
When we moved overseas, we packed and took everything that was of value to us. I suppose these things would have been safer in storage in our home city, but since we didn’t know how long we would be gone, we figured we’d take a chance. The things of greatest value were photo albums, and certain pieces of art… and most of my Christmas decorations (which I either made, or bought as travel momentos)!
Yes, photo albums are so very precious. We don’t put up a Christmas tree since we moved to this townhouse. There isn’t a spot for one. My daughter didn’t want our ornaments because she does a “themed” tree (only angels). I gave her all my angels but still had tons of other ornaments. When my youngest son married last summer, I offered him the ornaments and he was delighted. Made me happy that they were still going to be used.
Unfortunately I’m a pack rat so I treasure way too much! I love the coat story, what a beautiful story!
Isn’t it great how old things like that come with a story? Holding onto that coat helps me hold onto those memories.
My great grandparent’s dining room set. It doesn’t fit in my tiny house, but I have it stored in my shed. (I’m hoping to extend my kitchen someday.) My wedding dress, even though there’s no chance my taller almost Amazon princess height daughter would ever fit into it. A European wardrobe that a friend gave me about ten years ago. (I often say that if there was a fire in the house, I would try to figure out how to hoist the wardrobe on my back and take it with me.) Really great post!
Loved hearing about your treasures. I’m trying to picture you with that wardrobe on your back. LOL! We did finally through my wedding dress out. Bugs were eating the crinoline, it was heavy, heavy satin and so out of style, so I know my granddaughters would never want it. But I shed a little tear or two when we pitched it.