What’s The Most Sacred Thing You Own?

January 27, 2014

antiqueringboxescog

I ran into a friend recently who was holding a dirty small stuffed animal keychain and his passport. I asked him why and he explained that he had just come from an artist’s studio in Brooklyn who was taking portraits of his friends holding the two most sacred things they own. My friend had taken his passport because he loves to travel and the stuffed animal keychain (which, between us, looked like a fuzzy, beaten up cross between a Pokémon character and one of the extras from that movie The Hills Have Eyes) because for one reason or another untethered to sentimentality, the keychain always finds itself in his backpack.

Naturally, narcissist that I am, this got me thinking about what I consider the most sacred things I own. If I were being photographed for the series, what would I take? The anterior friend already blew my load on the passport front but as the offspring of two immigrant parents, one of which a refugee, I have long been taught that without my passport, I am effectively imprisoned. My mother actually even used to quiz me and ask what I would take if our apartment were to burn down. Every time I didn’t say my passport (usually, I opted for my childhood blanket with which I still sleep), she would yell WRONG! and ask me again but I digress.

At this point in my life, I would take the Jewish prayer book that my mom gave to me with my grandfather’s name inscribed in the front and this little gold, purportedly valueless Turkish coin that I wear on a long chain around my neck most days, which was a gift from my grandma, who wears the same one and once convinced me that every time the shank meets my necklace clasp, it means she’s thinking of me.

What I would certainly not take is any specific sweater or handbag or pair of shoes without at the very least an earnestly sentimental story attached. To be fair, though, I might revise my other answer to include a hair iron (I am almost always wearing the gold coin anyway and as I mentioned, am a narcissist). The reason for the former being that stuff is just stuff. It’s a mass of things that are only as valuable as you allow them to be but can very dangerously grow to define a putative sense of who you are if you don’t keep a thick enough wall up to sequester what’s actually important from what’s simply shiny.

So, that’s me as told through the vacuum of sacred things that I own. But what’s you?

-Leandra Medine

  • Stephanie L.

    Vintage YSL black blazer. Fits like a glove. Years from now, I want to find a rabbi that will let me be buried in it.

  • http://adeliberateimagination.wordpress.com/ CDJ

    10000% it would be my baby blanket that I also still sleep with. I think I have mentioned that rag about 15 times on this website, but what’s a 16th time? I honestly cannot think of anything else that would come close, unless pets count, then my answer would be my blankie + my Winston.

  • http://livingfiesta.com/ Esta Fiesta

    A pair of sneakers I bought in high school. It was the first thing I bought with my own money. ;)

  • Grace Cottrell

    Working in a charity shop means that we come across all sorts of interesting and unusual objects and it always makes you wonder what the story is behind the item and its owner.

    http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/11565881

  • Charlotte

    Photos. Without a doubt. Memories are great, but having a photo of that great moment is priceless.

  • Curvily NYC

    Immediately upon reading the title, I knew my answer: My late Grama’s costume pearl and chain necklace that she gave me before I went to college; and my stuffed racoon Baby Boy (I named him when I was 1.5 years old, don’t judge). In the fire scenario, I’m assuming I’d already have my engagement and wedding rings on my hand. As much as I love my fashion stuff, nothing comes close to those two as far as what I truly value.

  • Quinn Halman

    My family is one of the 30% of Jews who made it out of the Spanish Inquisition, well, alive and Jewish. 2 years ago we went to Barcelona and found the supposedly oldest synagogue in europe which is literally a hole in the wall. They had a book filled with the names of those who belonged to the congregation and beside each name, there was an indication of whether they lived or not, and if one lived, they would write where that family had moved to/hidden. Low and behold, there’s my mom’s last name with a note that they moved to Durban… Jewish geography, man… So the hamsa necklace I got there is very meaningful. Also my stuffed rabbit, Looly, because I don’t know where I’d be without his superb listening skills.

    • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

      Wow, I love ancestral things like that! Especially since the whole Spanish Inquisition played such a large impact on several other historical events.

      I’m going on somewhat of an ancestral trip this summer! I feel like going back to the small towns of our family members of yesteryear is gonna be sort of out-of-body. Not to mention, I’m super enthralled by the contemporary culture of these places as well.

  • Ashley H.

    Hands down, my ratty bear so wonderfully named “Bear.” That girl has been by my side since I was 2. And I’d also grab my three pups, because let’s face it, they’d do terrible in an emergency.

  • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

    In second grade, I became obsessed with vintage clothing and old movies. I’m not entirely sure what triggered such an interest, but I basically refused to listen to any music, watch any movies, and (for the most part), wear any clothes that exceeded my 1962 cutoff date. This collecting and watching and listening died down once I reached the 7th grade, but in those five or so years I had amassed a great amount of old things. From phones to typewriters, to alarm clocks, hats, gloves, and books….the list goes on.

    In the well-organized piles of all of that (I still have a great deal of my collection, which I keep safe in containers), I think my most sacred possessions are the signed head-shots of my great-grandmother’s cousin. My Great G-Ma’s cousin, Marie Windsor, was an actress in Hollywood. She was called the “Queen of the B’s” because she never really could rise above the second-tier film noir dramas that she was doing. Part of this was due to her height (somewhere btwn 5’9″ and 5’10”), as most of her male co-stars were rarely taller, especially if she wore heels.

    Anyway, last year I went to a Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the LACMA, and lo and behold I come across several pictures of Marie Windsor. I didn’t know that the movie she was in, The Killing, was directed by a young Stanley Kubrick! Given that I had watched most of the movies displayed, so religiously and had become a walking dictionary of 1930s- early 60s movie stars, it was really special to see a family member on a poster in the exhibit. Her autographed head-shots are addressed to my grandma and her sister, Grace, as “My little cousins,” and given that I never met Grace (she died when she was 18), and my grandmother died a few years ago, I feel like I own a great piece of familial history — slightly cinematic, too.

    It’s crazy how our interests can subconsciously reflect our familial identities, even if the notion only surfaces much later.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcZiAWD6NQM

    • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

      Afterthought: the full chest gene definitely was so severely recessive to the point of extinction by the time my generation rolled around.

  • Tamara

    Gotta give that honor to my wedding ring. 21 years.

  • Johanna

    My heirloom jewelry pieces. My great-grandmother and namesake Johanna’s diamond engagement ring, a sapphire ring from my grandmother, the necklace my mom gave me for my 27th birthday that was once a ring her parents surprised her with. All of them hold special meaning to me and remind me of the great women I am descended from.

  • Tara Howisey

    Are phones excluded? I’d grab that and my laptop if the house was burning. Prolly the cash….I sound pretty soulless, huh? I guess if “necessities” are taken out of the equation, I’d grab an heirloom pearl necklace.

    http://galleryofshea.blogspot.com/

  • Behind the Mirror

    I am also going with baby blanket… but the passport is a good idea.

  • Karen Chiang ♥

    My phone (if my macbook pro isn’t allowed on the list), and my wallet. Predictable, but really everything I own is backed up on the internet (aside from the mess that is my wardrobe, but then again my dream one is on tumblr anyway). So yes, wallet & phone.

  • Zoe

    I am loving all of the baby blanket responses I’m seeing! Because mine would certainly be my own baby blanket I sleep with…which is more of a dirty rag than blanket now, but it’s had a long run. Now for a more adult answer, the vintage Louis Vuitton my mother gave me. My grandmother brought it back from Paris for her in the ’70s when she was 17, and it is my most sacred piece.

    http://www.thewhatsinbetween.blogspot.com

  • Guest

    I have what’s left of of a comforter that my grandmother gave me when I was a baby. It’s only a scrap of fabric now, and I’ve literally slept with it every night for as long as my limited memory will allow me to, well, remember. I mean, I’ve lost boyfriends over this thing. I used to bring it to bars with me (in my bag, duh) in case I didn’t go home that night. Luckily, my husband has no qualms with ‘blankie’ and I can carry him around the house like a personal fetish every day and sleep with him clasped in my hand every night. He’s actually pretty gross (blankie, not husband), I know that, and that’s ok with me.
    Second thing (if we were to get two things that is( would be my portfolio. I’ve made ALOT of art and it would be unite devastatiing to lose

    I have what’s left of of a comforter that my grandmother gave me when I was a baby. It’s only a scrap of fabric now, and I’ve literally slept with it every night for as long as my limited memory will allow me to, well, remember. I mean, I’ve lost boyfriends over this thing. I used to bring it to bars with me (in my bag, duh) in case I didn’t go home that night. Luckily, my husband has no qualms with ‘blankie’ and I can carry him around the house like a personal fetish every day and sleep with him clasped in my hand every night. He’s actually pretty gross (blankie, not husband), I know that, and that’s ok with me.

  • http://www.thehipsterhousewifexx.blogspot.com/ The Hipster Housewife

    I have what’s left of of a comforter that my grandmother gave me when I was a baby. It’s only a scrap of fabric now, and I’ve literally slept with it every night for as long as my limited memory will allow me to, well, remember. I mean, I’ve lost boyfriends over this thing. I used to bring it to bars with me (in my bag, duh) in case I didn’t go home that night. Luckily, my husband has no qualms with ‘blankie’ and I can carry him around the house like a personal fetish every day and sleep with him clasped in my hand every night. He’s actually pretty gross (blankie, not husband), I know that, and that’s ok with me.

  • CarlotaLMorais

    I would take with me my silver necklace that as a pendent that my mother used when she was about my age. Aaaaannndd a french silk scarf that belonged to my great grandmother and was given to me by my grandma :)

  • Nicole Underwood

    That’s a very tough question. I am apt to choose photos. But I have billions of those by now…narrowing it down would be utterly impossible. I agree, things are just things. I’m going to think about this.

  • http://www.stylefile.in/ Dayle Pereira

    A bracelet my parents made me when I was born and a solitaire that my boyfriend gave me :)

    http://www.stylefile.in

  • http://www.lezu.com/ L’ezu

    Birkin.

  • http://funkymonkynancy.tumblr.com/ Nancy S.

    only thing that comes to mind right now are handwritten cards from my friends

    The Artistically Challenged: Beauty, Fashion, Music, Lifestyle Blog

  • http://thetiniestfirecracker.com/ Ashley

    I’ve thought long and hard about it since you posted this, and I’ve decided that all my vintage pieces that have been handed down to me from my family are the things I hold the nearest to me. A 20s turban, a 40s costume ring, a 70s leather jacket, a 50s/60s metal mesh purse, and few other things. I have a lot of clothes that I LOVE and a lot of other vintage pieces, even, but the heirlooms are the most special to me and I’d have to have them all. Call me materialistic. Oh well. Each piece has a story and I want to continue on with that.

    xo Ashley
    thetiniestfirecracker.com

  • Daniel Azzopardi

    My Balenciaga cut-out boots

    http://www.devilwearspraduh.com

  • Bella

    I shall not be a pain and say my two kids. But, though I am a terribly materialistic shopaholic, the funny thing is that I don’t think that anything I own is indispensable. I LOVE a lot of it, but sacred? Ok…my wedding ring.

  • Shauna

    Two posts, this one above and the iphone detox post, touched a nerve. I come here the odd time to read your writing about stuff. But I keep coming back because I trust you know how unimportant stuff really is. It’s fluff, i love it, but it’s still fluff.

  • Ashley Napoli

    Well that just made me like you that much more

  • Jillian Jihan

    Sterling Silver Open Heart ring at Tiffany’s by Elsa Peretti. I bought it for myself on the occasion of my “silver anniversary” of life (my 25th birthday)… it marked the beginning of me buying a piece of jewelry for myself every year for my birthday. :)