is the most valuable item in your home?
on the open market. Not strictly by dollars and sense.
a way of considering what I mean: If you needed to get out of
your house, could only grab one item—one item other than family,
friends and the dog—what would that item be?
feet away from me… right now, as I type this, two feet… is the
cake topper from my wedding day. It’s a special piece… a unique
piece… a one-of-a-kind piece that Terry designed and created for
us. Only one in existence.
are a few things like that in our office. Assembled and collected
and so on over the years. Photographs. Souvenirs. Mementos that
include items purchased and items used and items that for whatever
reason have special meaning for me, for Terry, for both of us.
And most of them could never be replaced, especially since we
have these as the originals to match with why we value them.
pieces exist throughout the house. A metal sign, featuring the
address of the first home we purchased, given to us by friends.
A wooden clock Jay made from some barnwood at his home.
months ago, we drove down to visit Justin when he moved into his
new home. Brought a ladder that we received from Ellen and Richard
when they moved a few years ago and couldn’t bring it with them.
In reality, it’s a metal extension ladder that will serve him
well for years and likely several decades. Worth a few hundred
dollars depending on who you might try to sell it to or what you
might need to replace it. But toss in that he got it from us…
toss in the connection to Ellen and Richard… and suddenly it’s
not just a metal extension ladder. (He seemed to appreciate the
few of the items around here might actually be treasures. Real
treasures. Items that could be sold to a collector or such and
have some value beyond what you might expect. For us though… it’s
something more than the whatever-it-is itself.
you likely have some things like this as well.
a certain way of valuing generic things. I say generic only to
remove that personal connection. And you understand the valuation
process. Supply and demand. Quality of design and construction.
Mark Hamill’s autograph. Reasons for raising or lowering a price
we’re considering here though are situations where there are no
prices to apply.
have a theory about people that collect specific things. You know
the friends… they love elephants or gorillas or pandas or Eeyore.
And suddenly, any time you think about getting a gift for them,
your mind drifts off into a place where you are trying to find
something with that theme. They tend to get a lot of gorillas.
(A LOT of gorillas.)
if you ask them in private… get them to admit the truth… most
will tell you they’re kind of frustrated since they let people
know about such passions. Sure, sure… they are thrilled that people
care about them so highly. They value the friendships and gifts
and so on. It is the thought, and the thoughts are wonderful.
But there are only so many rulers with giraffe designs and unicorn
pool floats that one person can take. There are an obscene number
of tacky parrot decorations. So… yeah.
grandparents had a wagon wheel against one of the fences in their
yard for years. Years. As in, part of it was buried underground,
and that segment had rotted away. When that house was sold, the
wheel was basically passed over by everyone. Damaged and not really
possessing a connection that anyone wanted to keep. A few days
ago, Terry and I were watching a television show, and they made
a light fixture out of a wagon wheel.
not saying that wagon wheel of my grandparents was worth saving.
Not saying we would have been able to turn it into a stunning
light fixture. Instead… all of my grandparents have been gone
for at least twenty years. There is no way for me to gather any
items from their kitchen or basement. There is no way for me to
find anything from their walls. I either have it already or, unless
someone in my family has it, I never will. All I can do is watch
television and think about what might have been (and occasionally
share it in an essay).
not turn this into an attempt to begin saving everything
though. No. Not headed there.
I just wonder if there are a few items that you keep because they
have a value you could never gather from your wallet.