Yes, I’ve always had a penchant for history.
- A hand-scrawled letter by my great-grandfather on scratch paper. (You can view it and my analysis on my Orphan George blog.) And the small autograph book he carried in Indiana his first years after leaving North Carolina. (Again, see the blog.)
- A stone breastplate pendant from an ancient burial mound in northwest Ohio. Plus, flint arrowheads.
- My Eagle Scout award, reflecting lessons in self-reliance, natural wonder, wilderness, and the outdoors in general.
- My Max Rudolf LPs. Working largely out of the spotlight, the conductor shaped the Cincinnati Symphony into a precise, glowing musical machine. Each performance was a revelation.
- James Nayler’s collected works, the second-oldest of the books in my personal library. Warped and hard to use as it is, with the ink bleeding through on many pages, it was published in 1829 in Cincinnati. He’s still my favorite writer from the emerging Quaker period. Also on my shelf are John Gough’s History of the People Called Quakers, in a four-volume set published in 1790 in Dublin. And then there’s Fernando G. Cartland’s Southern Heroes or The Friends in a Time of War (1897, Poukeepsie, New York), which details many of the travails of my ancestors under the repressive Confederate regime.
- A bone-handled antique fork, which I often used when visiting my grandparents. I wonder how far back in the family it really goes, but it’s still quite elegant in its primitive simplicity.
- An 1840s cherry table made in Ohio. Wobbly and warped, the wood itself is gorgeous.
- My journals, now numbering around 200 volumes. It’s what I often have rather than photos as a prompt to my memories. For the most part, I’d say the pages are more an outline of what happened, rarely of my inner thoughts and feelings, often tedious in their surface reporting, but they can still take me deeper into so much that’s otherwise slipped from my mind.
- Our copper cod weather vane. The one on the roof of the barn.
- A perfect trilobite, collected as a young rock hound in southwest Ohio.
Tellingly, many of these items are irreplaceable, unlike many other treasures that would still have replacements.
Which of your possessions do you most treasure?