One of the trains of thought that has been percolating in my head over the past couple of weeks has been about the power of old objects. When my husband and I first got married we didn't own a whole lot of  stuff. Now our apartment is filled with STUFF.

The other day I had used a plate that we got after our dear friend Yocheved died. We were part of the crew that was helping to clear out her apartment.  I had put some rolls on the plate and thought about Yocheved. And then I wondered about how this blue earthenware dish ended up in Yocheved's home.


Was it a gift from someone she loved? Did this little plate come into Yocheved's home as she was clearing out the home of a friend who had died? I wondered about the memories this plate may have held for Yocheved, and how it helps me to remember out friend.

Those thoughts also led me down the path of wondering about the purchase of antiques makes it possible to purchase the memories of others as contained in meaningful or valuable objects. This little train of thought made me think about some of the things that we have in our home that are filled with meaning and memories for us and may or may not carry any monetary value.

This pretty little birch bark box was also Yocheved's . She used to keep Shabbat candle lighting supplies inside of it.

I do too and each week before I light candles I mentally say hello to Yocheved.

My husband kept a collection of ceramic animals from his parents' home.

There are more. I don't know exactly why they mean so much to my husband but they do, so they live on our shelves.

This is the only member of our china menagerie that is mine. My parents bought one for each of my sisters and me in a fancy gift and china shop perhaps as a reward for bring patient while they browsed among the pretty things.

My husband keeps this little souvenir of Pittsfield, Massachusetts on his dresser. I remember when every Howard Johnsons restaurant sold similar ones in every restaurant along with balsam stuffed pillows.

We had picked up this little illustration of an old fashioned bathroom and hung it outside of our bathroom because it looks like our bathroom. 

My mother used to keep her pins in her mother's Swee-touch-nee tea can. My mother had thought that this little can had traveled from Czernowitz to New York with her mother. My mother gave the tin to me with great ceremony when she realized that sewing would be such an important part of my life.

I discovered earlier this year that the Russian type on the tin didn't mean that the can had traveled with my grandmother to Ellis Island but was a marketing tool to appeal to people like my grandmother who had grown up with Russian tea. The tea tin sits above my kitchen cabinets and is a sort of a touchstone for me.

This Pyrex bowl that is missing a great deal of its color had been my mother-in-law's. I make most of our during the week bread in this bowl. A dough is rising in the bowl as I type this. There is something about the shape and the heaviness of the bowl that make it a joy to use.  I reach for this bowl often and it probably gets used nearly every day/

The aluminum pendant had belonged to my mother-in-law. The Mardi-Gras  beads and the shell necklace were given to us at parties decades ago and my husband will usually incorporate them into any Purim costume that he wears.

My father's heavy brass bookends had lived on the windowsill in his office and held lots of books. now they hold one tiny book on my china cabinet.

So, all of this has been a preamble to the following.

Usually, Friday nights after we say the motzie, the blessing over the bread, we have a L'chaim, a toast . My husband will bring out a bottle of booze, he pours a shot for each person sitting and the table and we have a toast. 

Our friend Fred was funny and charming when we first met him. As he aged he was still funny but his neediness could be difficult. Any phone call where he would begin with, " I just need five minutes." could last an hour or longer.  Fred had my husband help him negotiate some issues he was having in the medical world. My husband  is a good guy and did it in good spirit.

Fred gave my husband a bottle of bourbon as a thank you.  Fred died about two years ago.  Often Friday nights my husband would suggest that we bring out the bottle that Fred had given us and we would think about Fred as we drank our l'chaim. This past Friday night we finished the very last of Fred's bottle.

Shabbat morning my husband and I chatted over breakfast about the now empty bottle.

No, we aren't throwing it out. We are keeping it to remember Fred both in his glory and in his time of diminishment.