NYT Prompt 009: The Stories Objects Tell Us

Prompt: What objects tell the story of your life?

Keepsakes are valuable objects because of their ability to tell a story, even if we don’t fully acknowledge it. We pass down items from generation to generation because someone gave it to us, because it meant something to an ancestor, and because it tells us about that person. It is only natural that those very same items and some of our own will live on to tell our story, to tell people about who we are. This is why historical museums exist.

In my closet, covered with a black bag, is a red, skirted unitard. It is embellished with gold sequins and has a removable, semi-transparent, white skirt and a matching cloth tiara. It tells the story of my attempt at ballet and jazz, which my grandmother paid for. Anyone that knows me will tell you that graceful is, perhaps, the one thing I most definitely am not. I wore this outfit to my one and only recital, which consisted of “Bugle Boy”, the Addam’s Family theme, and “Candle in the Wind.”

At the foot of my bed stands a hulking monstrosity of a desk. It is an antique and its age shows quite plainly. The desk is also extremely heavy, for what parts of it are real wood is made of mahogany. Once upon a time, it belonged to my grandmother. Throughout my childhood, it served as my pretend “office.” Now, it is where I put my computer. It has accompanied me since fourth grade, after I inherited it in third. The glass on top of it busted in my most recent move, but the desk remains stalwart. I expect to pass it on to my own children and/or grandchildren some day.

A well-worn, warped Amplifies Bible sits in a box in my closet, its pages marked up with pens and highlighters. It is a relic of my youth, when I would carry it with me to church and make note of important scriptures

Notebooks litter my drawers, shelves, and boxes. They are filled with random rambling, short stories, and unfinished prose. They tell the story of the time I’ve spent honing my craft.

Books line my shelves, many unread and others repurchased to replace those I lost in my youth. They speak of my love for fantasy, horror, and science fiction.

Stuffed animals and toys can be found amongst the boxes, too. Some of these belonged to my father when he was a child.

Photographs tell the longest stories, and we all have plenty of those. What objects tell your stories?

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