Metatalktail Hour: Childhood Objects May 18, 2019 4:30 PM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! This week, kristi wants to know "What objects do you still have from your childhood - especially things that don't have any particular sentimental value? I happened to notice I have a pair of scissors that I'm pretty sure were bought for me to use in grade school. I have no special attachment to them; they just seem to have stayed with me through the years."

As always, this is a conversation starter, not limiter, and we want to know what's up with you! And special bonus metatalktails content, I give you Feline McGee (who goes by Leela) refusing to let me use my computer.
posted by Eyebrows McGee to MetaFilter-Related at 4:30 PM (106 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I moved around a lot as a young person (>15 times before I was 25), and in one interstate move, the couriers lost my box containing most of my precious childhood things. Consequently, all I have are some of my beloved childhood books, Diana Wynne Jones, mostly.

Ugh what a morning. We just had our 2016 election equivalent here in Aus, and I'm trying not to be too down about it. Doesn't help seeing all the post hoc experts in my friend group who "saw it all along"(spoiler: they did not), or the idealists who don't care because Labor wasn't left enough for them. *flips table over*
posted by smoke at 4:41 PM on May 18 [19 favorites]


Hugs and solidarity to you, smoke.

The object that comes to mind is my old Speak and Math. It got preserved in my parents’ basement and passed to me when they moved out of my childhood home. It was a big hit with Little e before she had a twenty-first century digital entertainment option. Heh.

Speaking of Little e, this week’s bucket list achievement was “personal after-hours phone call to principal to beg for advice.” Sigh. He was actually reassuring, though, and I wound up feeling glad I called.
posted by eirias at 5:02 PM on May 18 [3 favorites]


I have a lot of my childhood crap saved. I'm an only child and my parents haven't had to downsize yet, so I haven't had to throw it away in turn; it's in the attic or a wardrobe. But the day is coming. One of the things I have kept is a journal that I wrote in hieroglyphs. (Not in Egyptian; I wasn't that good.) I deciphered an entry, which turned out to be a charmingly incorrect theory about my life and the Valley of the Kings.

I am melancholy tonight. In a personal matter, I think I fucked up, and there's nothing to do but to sit with it. It's all down to my need to be presented with a trophy labeled EXTERNAL VALIDATION once in a while.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:28 PM on May 18 [10 favorites]


My mom saved the ridiculous jacket that all the cool kids wore when I was in middle school. It’s the bright blue of the school color, with the town name embroidered on the back and personalized on the front. I really wanted to be one of the cool kids, so I begged for one. I chose to spell my name Jeni for some reason. I was 12 and it was 1991. Oh, and it’s puffy and made of corduroy. It makes me cringe, but it was recently used as a costume in a play at Kid Ruki’s high school, so there’s that.

Most of the actual sentimental stuff from my past was ruined when my basement flooded. I’m mostly over that.
posted by Ruki at 5:38 PM on May 18 [4 favorites]


I'm at my parents' house this weekend, and my mom (for some reason) arranged a display of Baby Things With My Name On Them. Tiny red sweater, ancient towel, my baby blanket, my handmade Kermit comforter. It's charming, if slightly random, except I don't actually use my given name and haven't for years, so I don't have any real use for this stuff. (Except the comforter, which I ended up using because my wife steals the covers something *awful*)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 5:46 PM on May 18 [7 favorites]


I don't have anything at all from my childhood due to numerous episodes of my mom (with me in tow) up and leaving a series of bad marriages with only what she could carry. It's okay though. I'm not very sentimental. Although maybe I'm not very sentimental because of these experiences?

Anyway I went to town weeding my back yard today and wore myself out and had a nice afternoon nap and now I'm going to have dinner cooked for me. Good Saturday evening to you!
posted by HotToddy at 5:48 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


"(Except the comforter, which I ended up using because my wife steals the covers something *awful*)"

The secret to a happy marriage is a king-sized comforter on a queen-sized bed.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:56 PM on May 18 [19 favorites]


The other secret to marriage is two twin or two queen blankets on a queen-sized bed.
It allows for temperature differences.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:12 PM on May 18 [20 favorites]


I have a clear mug with a map of the world on it. They were in a coffee commercial in the 1970s and all us kids thought they were neat so that Christmas we found some under the tree. I assume the coffee company made them available via mail order and my mom had to wait 6-8 weeks for delivery. It now lives in my kitchen and It's become a place to put spare change, orphaned keys, and paper clips. I only just now realized I've never actually drunk coffee out of it.

Speaking of mugs, I also have a Pac Man mug that I bought during peak Pac Mania, probably 1981 or so. Somehow I've managed to hang on to it without breaking it all these years.

Neither of them have huge amounts of sentimental value, but I like that I still have them.

The mugs.
posted by bondcliff at 6:17 PM on May 18 [11 favorites]


I've had the same hand-me-down dresser and chest of drawers since I was 5 years old, not for sentimental reasons but because it's plain old mid-century Danish modern (mass produced) furniture that still seems fine.
posted by Wobbuffet at 6:17 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


I still have the pencil lead that broke off in my ass when I was a boy.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:22 PM on May 18 [21 favorites]


The bookcase in my bedroom is the one my parents bought me when I was born. I’ve repainted it a couple of times. I also still have about a dozen Dr Seuss books that I received from a kids’ book of the month-type club when I was a toddler. According to my mom, I thought they were gifts from our mailman when he delivered them each month.
posted by bookmammal at 6:25 PM on May 18 [6 favorites]


I still have nine and a half of my fingers. That should count for something.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 6:29 PM on May 18 [17 favorites]


The key to a happy marriage with dogs AND body pillows is covers layered on the bed so they basically reach the floor on each side, so by the time you sacrifice half of them to unconscious dogbody and the clearance the body pillow adds to your coverage needs, your ass still isn't hanging out. If you additionally require entirely different blanket densities, this works fine to accommodate that.

I have a small but fiercely-loved set of childhood things: the bath towel that was mine at my grandparents' house, which at one point in my life wrapped around me several times and nearly dragged the floor but is slightly smaller than a modern bath towel; a set of satin ball Christmas tree ornaments that my mother hand-beaded while she was pregnant with me (she has her own set, including one with my school picture from every year through high school graduation); a framed two-page magazine spread (with late-70s-tastic graphic design) with a chart of herb usages, which used to hang in my parents' kitchen; a beautiful framed cherry blossom scarf my father bought my mother when he worked in Japan when I was a kid. (I got this, but my mom kept the framed spycraft nylon/rayon map of Europe that was compressed into my grandfather's overcoat button during the war.)

I have a number of things I have from moving away from home for the first time, and then from the year I got married/the year my grandfather died: a few steak knives, some wooden utensils, a quilt my mother made me, the dining room table and chairs (plus several lamp bases) my grandfather made in the garage of their house in San Antonio after the family returned to the US after WWII and his posting in Germany for 5 years afterwards.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:31 PM on May 18 [6 favorites]


I have quite a few things from my childhood that have sentimental value but I tried to think of what might be sitting around for non-sentimental reasons. The first thing that came to mind was the beanbag sitting in my top dresser drawer (in a little hollowed-out shelf space that I suppose is for jewelry), which I used to use as a hopscotch lagger. I think I bought it at a carnival/craft fair at my elementary school. It's made of brown felt with a blue felt happy face on it. (It was the early 70's and happy faces were on everything.) I don't feel like I have a huge attachment to the thing, but I guess the fact that it's taking up space in my dresser drawer despite having zero utility in my life makes it hard to argue that it has no sentimental value.

So what else is there? I have some things my mother gave me from her kitchen years ago when I first needed kitchen stuff of my own. They weren't special things, just things I needed that she could spare. I'm pretty sure my oldest wooden spoon, the one I recently realized has gotten a lot narrower after years and years of use, is one from her kitchen. The metal measuring cup we use for the dog food probably used to be hers, too. And I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere in the house there is still at least one ballpoint pen (probably non-functional by now) that says "U.S. Government" on it. My dad used to bring them home from work.
posted by Redstart at 6:32 PM on May 18 [3 favorites]


OK, Metafilter, now you've got me digging through my box of memories.

Here's a picture I drew in Kindergarten of my dad "smoking a bottle of beer."

I also have a $50.00 savings bond from 1984 and I didn't know what to do with it then and I don't know what to do with it now.
posted by bondcliff at 6:39 PM on May 18 [8 favorites]


Throw it off a cliff and fully realize your user name?

I still have some hair trimming scissors that came with a home-barber kit my grandfather bought back in the late 60's or early 70's. They've had nearly-weekly use since I started maintaining facial (and later nose...sigh) hair when I was 19 or so; they've completely lost their shine but they still work as well as they ever did, with semi-regular sharpening (by me) and the occasional oiling of the hinge. After the electric trimmer from that kit finally gave up the ghost a few years ago I bought a new barber kit, and quickly realized the old scissors were still far superior to the cheaply-made new ones. So I continue to use them and the pristine new scissors remain stuffed away in the back of a bathroom cupboard.

My grandfather died when I was in my mid-20's, and after my uncle took first dibs on the contents of his dad's tool shed I (as the eldest male grandchild) was allowed to take whatever else I wanted. I still have his drill, a nifty folding wooden carpenter's ruler, and a few other hand tools; no telling how old any of them are but I'm willing to bet at least some are older than me.

I think I've still got a legal-length clipboard from my school years complete with (very faded by now) stickers, but I haven't seen it lately; maybe it's buried in a box but I can't swear to it.

I also have an afghan (blanket, not dog) my grandmother crocheted for me when I was a teenager - I didn't appreciate it much at first but it has turned out to be handy many a time since I moved out on my own. I also had a few bits of hand-me-down furniture but that's all broken or given away or fallen by the wayside by now.

I kept (15-20?) Dr. Seuss books from my sister's and my childhood as well as a couple of Winnie the Pooh editions that our mom and uncle had been given in their childhood, and read them to my son and stepson until they grew out of them. Now my sister has them, and I suppose if either of the boys-now-men have children of their own she'll pass them along accordingly. I think she also kept all the Christmas tree ornaments plus who knows what else, she's always been more sentimental and family-oriented than I have.

It's interesting to think about all the lost stuff for probably the first time in decades; I feel like I ought to feel maudlin about it, but I honestly don't. Take from that what you will...
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:46 PM on May 18 [9 favorites]


I have a handful of books from my childhood. I used to have a broken lint-brush I stole from my parents' house when I went to college, but I lost that somewhere along the way.

Yesterday was very weird. Several people approached me over the past week sharing concerns about a friend co-worker, and I think they were sharing out of genuine concern for her wellbeing but the rumors seemed... off, and it was getting to the point where people were going to my friend's boss and boss's boss with the rumors, and I don't want to spread rumors or get caught up in drama (and I tried to shut down the people who came to me) but given that it was escalating, I felt like I needed to tell my friend what was going on. The conversation went well, but it's just awkward to be like, "A bunch of people are talking about how you're fucked up?" I knew that talking to her was the right thing, but it was hard to do. Then I met with my boss and her boss's boss, I think? (The org chart is weird right now.) And I was more candid than I had planned about how awful things are right now in the organization. I like the maybe-boss's-boss and I'm glad I talked to her about things, but I suspect my boss in not happy about it. She tends toward the "Pretend everything's fine so that no one interferes" model, which... hasn't worked, historically. We're cutting programs right and left because we're so over budget, and it doesn't seem right to pretend that everything's on track when it's not. It's just hard when I'm new-ish to my job and on probation until the end of the year and so worry much more than I normally would about office politics.
posted by lazuli at 6:50 PM on May 18 [4 favorites]


I still have my N64, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance, and all my save files on the games I played as a kid (except, sadly, Boktai). Funny story about the Game Boy Advance: it's the first professional compensation I ever earned. In the early 2000's, there was a site for kids called Bonus.com where I would go to play Java applet games. One time, they had a contest to write reviews for Nintendo games, so I wrote a review of Mario Tennis, and a week later somebody called me up and said I had won a Game Boy Advance.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 6:51 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


Throw it off a cliff and fully realize your user name?

Ok, that's brilliant. If I ever get back to Bondcliff I may do just that.
posted by bondcliff at 6:54 PM on May 18 [10 favorites]


I have a lot of objects from my childhood in storage. They're gonna have to stay there for a while, and are perhaps too numerous to detail.

But one thing I really like is an object my current roommate, an artist, has on his wall: a framed drawing, su primer dibujo. There are definitely a good few of my own early drawings and other art efforts in storage right now, too.
posted by limeonaire at 6:58 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


I've moved so often that things have scattered off me a dog shaking off like water, but I do have a few childhood things, all sentimental: A cream colored eyelet quilt, my first ever gift, never used since I was a baby but always kept. A tiny carved raw wooden airplane with real working wheels, my second gift, this one from my brother, who as a toddler and new big brother was told that the best gifts are the things you would like yourself. A tiny black and white fisher price dog lives in my kitchen cabinet and greets me each morning.

I like old things, though. Old houses. My furniture is mostly a collection of everyday antiques that are mostly about a hundred years old. I never owned anything long enough that would pick up a comfortable grunge or patina, so I've been picking up the grunge/patina secondhand, and the comfort it brings.

In other news, The Big Surgery has been postponed! It was scheduled for this coming Monday, but this week, one of the two assigned surgeons fell off his mountain bike and shattered his collarbone, so he's all trussed up and in no position to operate on people. The new date, with a new second surgeon, is June 17. Which gives me plenty of time to finish up the rest of the prep work I'd had planned, as I've gotten lots of things done, but I move pretty slow. And plenty of time, too, to enjoy the very thoughtful and cheerful notes and cards that have already arrived from #meficardclub. (Thank you, all of you!) I'll be keeping those up near the mirror all summer. They're wonderful!
posted by mochapickle at 7:01 PM on May 18 [9 favorites]


I have a bunch of embroidery tools that date to childhood, mainly because they're still in use. Of course I have many, many more now, but now and then I'll pull out a hoop and go, "Oh, this is the one I got when I was seven," or "Oh yeah, I spent babysitting money on these scissors when I was twelve."

I have a Caboodles that I got in junior high when they were all the rage that now serves as a toolchest.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 7:05 PM on May 18 [5 favorites]


I have quite a few pieces of furniture from my grandmother's house: a banjo clock, a queen ann sofa, a leather topped desk and a few other pieces. It's always funny to go through family pictures back to the forties and recognize the furniture. There are pictures of every kid going back sixty years sitting on that same couch.
posted by octothorpe at 7:06 PM on May 18 [3 favorites]


The first thing that comes to mind is the chubby puppy bookend, right side.

The only time I actually see it anymore is when I drop something next to my bed, and the thing is small and I can't see it so I drop down on my knees to look. It's on the bottom of a bedside table with two shelves, pushed to the back, almost in a corner. The only thing on that bottom shelf, except maybe dust and dog hair.

At one time there were two. My sister claims I destroyed the left one. But she forgets they were in Louisiana for hurricane Katrina. When I found the right one after Mom died, it was the only one in the house. I don't know where the left one went.

My dad made them for my grandmother when he was in high school shop class. He didn't carve them, he made them with molds. Then added simple coloring and glaze with a brush. On the bottom is a smudged half fingerprint. My grandma loved and protected them. She kept them in her bedroom, on her dresser, leaning against each other. I could see them from the hallway but I don't think I touched either of them until after my grandmother died. After my mom died I put the right one, the only one I could find, in my bag and flew it back home with me. I put it so low and out of the way hoping it's less likely to be touched or hurt. The pretty little porcelain chubby puppy sometimes seems like the farthest back I can travel with any real certainty. I sympathize with his sleepy eyes, set permanently leaning, even if usually against nothing, not even a token book.

It's been here longer than me, and my dad was responsible for both of us. It's very special to me and I hesitate to bring it up or bring attention to it. Like my grandmother, I want to keep it safe and protect it. So just stay away, okay?

If I ever get a barristers bookshelf, preferably with doors that locked and I would have the only key, then perhaps I'd take the left puppy off that second hidden shelf next to my tall bed. He's just fine where he is. Maybe all he really needs is a book or two to lean on.

Sometimes, I push the table away from the bed, and I hang my arm over the side between the bed and table, and I fall asleep touching the left spotted leaning chubby porcelain fingerprinted puppy.
posted by Stanczyk at 7:28 PM on May 18 [15 favorites]


Sometime in the 1960's, my mother and I bought a lavender scented drawer sachet that I always then kept in the sock drawer of my bureau, more from inertia than for any other reason. When I moved out to my own place, the bureau and sachet came along, and it is still in the same sock drawer even now, still faintly lavender scented.

Sometime in grade school, Mr. gudrun cut the bottom off of one of those square cardboard gallon milk cartons, and then glued painted popsicle sticks vertically all along the outside to make a pen/pencil holder. He still has it in use, though a number of the popsicle sticks are missing now.

Also, like Restart, we both have random kitchen stuff our mothers handed off for us to use when we first set up housekeeping, including my favorite Robeson Shur-Edge "Frozen Heat" kitchen knife, which is at least 60 years old and still sharp.
posted by gudrun at 7:36 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


The closest I can come is a book about Laurel & Hardy written by Leonard Maltin. I bought it when I was maybe 12-13 years old and read it cover-to-cover many times. So, it's a bit sentimental. My mother, on the other hand, not only still has some toys and stuff from my childhood, she still has the same mattress that she has had since she and my father got married in 1962 (and was a hand-me-down from my grandmother!).
posted by briank at 7:37 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


I have a Caboodles that I got in junior high when they were all the rage that now serves as a toolchest.

I had makeup in mine and I still have the makeup. Little Twin Stars blush in two tiny cakes, lavender and magenta, neither of which suit anyone. A pot of strawberry lip gloss, the kind with the close-up photo of the fruit; it smelled like melting plastic, but for some reason I wore it anyway. A bottle of Electric Youth, almost empty, lacking nothing of its potency. One of my mother's Estee Lauder compacts, in which the eyeshadow applicator foam fell apart from age.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:46 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


I have a towel that came into my possession when I was 13 (I'm 34 now). I got it during a big family reunion.

In other news, I made up a potty song for my child yesterday, sung to the tune of Row, Row, Row:

Poop, poop, poop your poop
gently in the toilet
merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
life is good--enjoy it

In other other news, many months ago, I made several cards for my wife and left them hidden around the house. She found one this morning that instructed her to find me and put on something goofy like the B52s so we could both make silly faces and dance. Which we did. Kiddo joined us. It was fun.
posted by duffell at 7:56 PM on May 18 [15 favorites]


Er... a little older than childhood? I have a jar opener - one of those floppy rubber ones? - from my hometown bank. I think I got it when I opened an account at 16.

We were a bank-furnished family, though. Growing up, our plates were from the bank. Every time my mom made a certain dollar deposit, they would give her another setting. So weird. (They were the grossest yellow color. I mean, beggars can’t be choosers but they were the worst color.)
posted by greermahoney at 7:56 PM on May 18 [5 favorites]


Well, I'm the type of person for whom everything, including 20oz bottles of pop I bought this afternoon at Target, has sentimental value. So if something's made it that far, there's very little chance I don't have an extreme attachment to it. I once held on to an empty bottle of conditioner for around four years because it was the last thing I bought at a local grocery store I liked that went out of business. Some things in order of age: my first stuffed animal, who was a round corduroy happy face and is now, sadly, just some puffs of cotton stuffing and a few scraps of corduroy. A child's rocking chair that my mother returned to me so that my daughter could use it. A pillow that I first got when I was four years old. (The pillowcase is newer - it's the one I got as part of my sheet set when I went to college, 21 years ago.)

I also still own three t-shirts from when I was in high school. One of the great things about the baggy clothing trend of the 90s is that many of the clothes I owned then still fit me now, even though I'm several inches taller and 40-50 pounds heavier. Had I known that would be the case, I would have kept better track of my clothes. There are a lot of items I wish I still had but got lost over the years.

I also have my high school and college ID cards sitting on the table next to my computer. My HS card is particularly amusing because I was a tiny child (4'11", 95 pounds at the time the photo on the card was taken), and I'm now a rather large adult (over a foot taller, and well over double the weight).
posted by kevinbelt at 8:03 PM on May 18 [7 favorites]


I don't have many remnants from childhood since my mother was such an effective purger of anything she considered "old". (yes, there is a grudge behind my judgy-ness; this is the woman who put my collection of more than 300 Beatle cards in the trash while I was at university.) Anyway, one thing I have is my first communion dress. It astounds me that this is one of the only things my mother saved for me.

First of all, I was a born atheist. As a tot, I stubbornly refused to acknowledge god as my maker, although, I soon learned to keep my heathen mouth mostly shut. But I didn't want to receive first communion at all. My mother wanted to dress me up in a pristine new white petticoated horror (I was a tomboy atheist) and I dug my feet in. If I had to go through this charade, I insisted on wearing a slightly bedraggled communion dress worn by one of my cousins in the 1930s that my gramma had given me to play dress up in.

Second, my mother loathed all old things. She was horrified at my choice of dress. At six years old, I decided that this was the hill I wanted to die on. I flat out refused to go to the damn communion unless I could wear my secondhand dress. I turned what should have been a proud happy event into a war of nerves. Finally, to get me to go she let me have my way.

I really enjoyed my first communion dressed in an obviously old dress that clashed with the starched newness of all the other little girl's dresses. But I am somewhat baffled that mother chose this mortifying dress to save as a keepsake. Still, I am happy to have it.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:17 PM on May 18 [12 favorites]


I have three things that I still have and use from my childhood - that's not sentimental things like books or old baby clothes . One is a short rolling pin that I got for my 7th or 8th birthday. I use it often. The second is a yellow-handled whisk that I probably got at the same time - in some sort of baking package (I loved and still love baking). Both of them made the trip from Sweden to the US, and have survived at least... I'd say 12 moves or so total.

The third thing is the scientific calculator that my dad gave me for 7th grade math. I think he took it from his stash at his office at the paper mill. I used it for all my math classes from then on, as well as in college and in grad school. It is now my primary calculator at work. The 5 sticks a little bit, but it's still going strong!
posted by gemmy at 9:27 PM on May 18 [3 favorites]


"But I am somewhat baffled that mother chose this mortifying dress to save as a keepsake."

I'm guessing she saved it because of all those things -- her little atheist tomboy choosing that hill to die on and winning the war of wills. She can be mad about it and simultaneously think that's the most You thing you've ever done and the moment when she first saw your whole future unfolding before her.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 9:31 PM on May 18 [10 favorites]


I have a doll that I got for Christmas or my birthday when I was maybe 4 or 5 I guess. So very early 1960s. I requested her out of the old Eaton’s catalogue. She was called a Kimmy Doll and the one I wanted had dark brown skin and straight black hair and wore an “Eskimo” outfit. She’s made of hard plastic and has hinged shoulders and hips. I still have the Eskimo outfit but somewhere along the way Iittle kid me put her in a white cotton dress with lace on it. I’m not sure what to do with her so I just keep on keeping her.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:38 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


I still have the pencil lead that broke off in my ass when I was a boy.

I have one of these in my thumb.

Back to the main question, I mentioned this one in the books thread, but it's my copy of The Kids Future Whole Earth Catalog, which I've had since 1979.

Some other random things: An old ID card from when I was about 18 and apparently looked like a young Jared Leto. It's a good bar trick, too.

Another thing I have from about the same age is this silly little neck lanyard I got at the second Lollapalooza tour. It's just a print of a fractal on one side, and a holographic shiny fractal on the other side. It was made by this weirdo mathematician with a booth of random fractal art that wrote his own code to deep zoom fractals back when that meant something in computing.

I used to use it as a universal back stage pass. It worked. I'd show up at random shows with a milk crate of useless wires or just looking like I was in a hurry and have had security/staff look at it with a flashlight and just sort of short circuit and go "Ok, whatever, this is too weird I don't care. These aren't the droids I'm looking for."

I finally had the combination of weed whacker, 2 stroke oil, fuel and a sunny day (or at least drier grass) and so I spent half the day at it and I'm wrecked. I don't know what the deal is but there's just something about weedwackers in particular that just seem to tear a body up.

I think I'd be less sore if I spent the same time chopping wood or hammering the driveway flat with a crowbar, and these are both things I've been doing. I'm even using a good shoulder strap and gloves and have a velcro cheater strap on the trigger so my carpals don't get tortured. It's even a brand new Echo trimmer that frankly runs like a top, if a very angry one.

What I'm saying is I want - no, need - some kind of yard work specific robot exoskeleton where instead of plasma rifles I have a string trimmer, hedge clipper and a bunch of whirling blades and chainsaw fingertips and stuff. I want to be able to, say, scoop up an entire tree, rootball and all with one hand and transplant it like it was a kale seedling. Or trim a half acre of blackberry bramble by wading right into it.

Hopefully more cob building tomorrow at the neighbors!

And since things are weirdly tense, dystopian and fucky and because I have a gig coming up and so here's a fun, bouncy as fuck and properly bangin' techno mix suitable for your commute, marching through life, not letting the existential dread set in on the bus, getting chores and yardwork done, etc.

The theme is, indeed, "Anxious but holding it together and staying the fuck up." as techno should be.

Most of these tracks are no more than a few months old, and many are new as of this week. It came out of a random practice/listening session but the recording turned out so bouncy and fun I posted it. It was a LOT of fun to mix and I was bouncing all over the place for this one.
posted by loquacious at 10:14 PM on May 18 [6 favorites]


...the pencil lead that broke off in my ass when I was a boy.

Were you a constipated young mathematician?
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:25 PM on May 18 [5 favorites]


I still have the teddy bear that was pictured next to me in my one day old baby photos. I saved it and took pictures of my own son at one day old with the same bear next to him. He's ten now and is still snuggled with it in bed right now. The really funny thing is that my aunt was over a few years ago and saw it and said "Oh my god, you're the one that ended up with my old teddy bear! You know, that was given to me right when I was born..."

And since you asked what was up with me, I'm going to take this opportunity to finish my recent narrative arc.

Previously, in Slarty Bartfast's worst year ever...

In which Slarty's frustrations with medicine go past burnout and he decides to organize his coworkers and go back to school for a management degree...

In which Slarty's efforts are discovered and are perceived to be a threat to the power structure and he loses his job where he has been long loved by coworkers and patients...

In which Slarty is getting really bitter and is debating leaving medicine forever while contemplating the future...

In which Slarty decides to go to his first ever state medical society meeting to try networking and schmoozing and is unexpectedly asked to help give a talk at the general assembly...

So, I just got back from the medical society meeting and it was blissful, karmic, restorative, and altogether surprising. Unbeknownst to me, because I don't do my homework, the theme for the year is physician burnout, its effects on healthcare systems and patient care, and how to combat it as healthcare leaders. One of the featured speakers is the CFO at the big University hospital and happens to be my current finance professor in the Master of Health Admin program I'm currently in and a guy I personally like quite a lot. You see a year ago, I got sick and tired of trying to make administrators try to understand the physician and patient perspective on the front line and decided to go and learn the language they speak because they sure as hell aren't bothering to learn the language doctors speak.

It turns out my CFO friend is the only non-physician to speak at this conference and his topic, get this, is "How to Use the Language of Finance to Convince Your CFO to Invest in Physician Wellness." A couple weeks ago, he noticed my name on the list of attendees and he reaches out to me and asks for my help. He tells me he wants to put together a business strategy talk but he really needs the input of a physician to estimate realistic costs and benefits and would I be interested in using the analytic framework he's been teaching us and applying it to this problem of physician wellness? And it turns out now I have done several power point presentations doing exactly this kind of financial analysis for his class. Hell yes I'll do it. My first ever medical society meeting and I'm giving a talk in the general session.

And here is *best* part: In attendance, are two senior physicians from my old employer (which utterly failed to manage physician burnout and wellness) who had a hand in forcing me out of my job.

So my prof gets up and makes his corny jokes and talks about the importance of making a financial and strategic case to the C-suite and talks about environmental and strategic analysis and then introduces me, one of his star students, to go over a "sample" pro forma. I stand up and put up my Excel spread sheet and explain this is just a sample of the kind of thing that leaders use to make decisions and you could adapt this to any organization, but for the sake of argument I assumed a large urban primary care practice with [same number of physicians as my old practice] seeing [same number of patients as my old practice]. Now, let's assume this organization has a really bad problem with burnout and has a physician attrition rate of [that of my old practice] -- some nervous laughter in the audience -- "You laugh and I agree, this seems extreme, but I am personally aware of practices in Seattle experiencing this" and there are some comments of "I've seen higher" coming from the audience. In this hypothetical organization, the cost of doing nothing over 5 years, using conservative data from the AMA, is about 40 million dollars. Now over here, I ran the scenario where you keep your productivity targets the same instead of increasing, and invest [an insanely high amount of money] in physician and employee wellness programs to modestly reduce the attrition rate to this number here, and you retain 30 million dollars in cost avoidance.

Now, all of you physicians here knew this organization had a big problem even before looking at the numbers and knew they needed to do something drastic to keep their docs happy, right? But now, armed with the numbers, you can see even the most short sighted administrators in the world can't ignore this kind of money. And that's how you talk to your CFO about physician wellness.

*applause, handshakes*

Life doesn't give you many opportunities like this and you have to savor them when they come along. While staying completely competent, professional, and classy, I handed those 2 former colleagues of mine a bag of perfectly gift-wrapped dicks to choke on and I can now move on with my life.

fin
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:53 PM on May 18 [115 favorites]


It didn't break off, but pencil lead tattoo spot on my right palm. Guess it goes with the other scars from childhood that are the only non-sentimental things in current possession at the moment. The rest I'm sure are lost to moves and the homeless era.

+++

Currently de-stressing from the MeFi Music MIxtape Swap which is replaced by the stressing for the next thing. Going back home in June for my nephew's high school graduation and assuming the mantle of "evil uncle" now that he's pretty much an adult. Heh. Time to start getting serious about the "A Certain Oddlystrange Prescient Bucket" project (ACOPBP).
posted by zengargoyle at 11:02 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


My teddy bear from when I was 3 months old still lives next to my bed. He is very worn and needs a nose job and some stuffing replacement- but I will never not love him.

The significant employee discount that I posses as an employee of my local garden center has already proved too tempting to pass up. Ahead of some significant rain this week- I managed to plant my spring herbs in both beds and pots. The jury is still out on my cauliflower surviving to give me any heads- and in an interesting development I might be tapped in the fall at my job to run a seminar on cabbages. I'm still experimenting with propagating mint from cuttings, with some success too. And finally, quite happily- I got to put my city's original namesake in a pot before the rain came. Yerba Buena! I also met this puppy at work. So many people shop for plants with their dogs it is a bona fide perk of the job.

Oh god I'm so tired though. This is really physical work. I'm learning so much though- and in 18 months I'll be eligible to try to become a California certified nursery professional on the company's dime. This might not be what I went to school to do- but for all the hard labor- it's what I'm happiest doing. I got my first paycheck as an adult today. I'm so happy.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:30 PM on May 18 [9 favorites]


I still have two faded scars* on the inside of my right wrist from where I jammed my hand through the storm window when annoyed that the wind had blown that dang door back closed after I'd just propped it open when my super mean mother was making me broom out the mud room at the back door before I could go out and mess around with my friends in fourth or fifth grade.**

I'm dumb, but not *that* dumb -- I'd meant to jam my hand onto the wood frame, and not through the glass window.

I pulled my hand back, looked at it -- phew, all okay.

Until I turned it over.

It was super-cool -- I actually got to look inside for about a fraction of a second, it was this pinkish-white color. And then came all the blood.

My poor mother, seven of us kids and all of us except me a mess, she took one look and like to shit her drawers, ran it under the kitchen tap to see the extent and all she got to see was blood blood blood and she wrapped that beauty up in a kitchen towel "Hold that tight!" and we hopped into that old blue Buick and raced down to Roosevelt Road, the office of a doc we'd never seen before, he cleared the decks, got me right in and sewed me up, but not until after probing around some, looking for bits of glass he said but I think he was a psycho who hated really nice, friendly, good looking, bleeding children for no reason at all. Probably he was a White Sox fan. Or a drunkard. Or both -- seems that most White Sox fans are drunkards, and who can blame them?

I barely missed an artery, but I sure hit some nerves, or one big one -- my palm was numb feeling for *years*, down into my fingers. As you can see, one of the cuts had a bunch of stitches, the other cut only had one stitch, probably it didn't actually need to be sewed but just that doctor wanting to poke a needle into me some more, thinking about how the Sox didn't have Ernie Banks, or Billy Williams, either.

I also have a certificate showing that I graduated Baptist Vacation Bible School in 1959, signed by the very Sunday School Superintendent himself (my father) but I can't find what image folder it's in and I'm tired of looking for it. But I did attend, and graduate, too.
*Yes, my cell phone takes shitty pictures.
**No, I don't have tons of school pics, just that one plus my five*** high school ID cards. If you must know, I am in the far right row, under the books, next to Linda.
***If you can't figure out why I had five high school ID cards think again -- high school was ever only a social event for me, and that doc wasn't the only drunkard in Lombard Illinois.
posted by dancestoblue at 11:35 PM on May 18 [6 favorites]


Yesterday I used the ruler I have since high school.
posted by ouke at 11:35 PM on May 18 [5 favorites]


In 1976 I was a senior in high school, and seniors could leave campus for lunch. We were all too poor to go anywhere nice, but each Tuesday, we’d go to Taco Bell for $0.29 burritos. That’s when TB also began distributing the Warner Bros/Looney Tunes cartoon glasses for just $0.59 filled with soda. I bought a glass just about every week and I still have all but 2 or 3. I used to say that I was keeping them for when I had kids – like I would have a large brood, but I didn’t marry until late and only had one child (who is practically perfect in every way). Then the glasses just seemed like an accident waiting to happen, so I put them in the cabinet over the refrigerator – out of reach. I tried introducing my daughter to the collection when she started high school, but she didn’t show much interest – she grew up on Nickelodeon. The glasses have long since lost their sentimental value but I can't seem to let them go. So they’ve continued to sit in the cabinet over the fridge.
posted by kbar1 at 12:35 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]


Slarty, your story has me smiling real big at ass-o-clock in the morning!
posted by eirias at 2:09 AM on May 19 [4 favorites]


I've been keeping stuff like a fiend. I loved my toys and stuffed animals and books and things, and you can't just abandon them! So they are all there, somewhere, apart from a few that a house-sitter kid stole from my parent's house when I already was a grown-up.

The only lapse was when I was 14 and thought selling my HO gauge trains was a good deal and would free up some money for the N-gauge trains I was starting to collect at the time.
40 years or so forward and I still hadn't gotten over kicking myself about it, so a while ago I spent a year or so to retrieve all the vintage locomotives and carriages back from auctions. Found specimens of all of them, in fact. They're now in a little showcase in the living room.

Digging through my parent's place I found a small piece of Pelikan chalk which was used at school when I was little and which somehow survived the (anyway not very draconic) purges. It's now here beside me to remind me of old times. My two old and scratchy school fountain pens I recently let go, on the other hand.
posted by Namlit at 2:18 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]


Random: I still have an address book I was given in fourth grade.

More sentimental: Some Kouvalias toys my family picked up in Greece when I was five and the first Breyer horse I bought as a kid.
posted by thomas j wise at 2:53 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]


For no particular reason I still have my t-shirt from my brief stint on the swim team in 1992. It’s becoming sentimental by default.
posted by obfuscation at 4:13 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]


My family moved across the country when I was 13 and so many childhood things were jettisoned. However, I still have:

A small stained glass piece in the shape of a bear, made by an artist and member of my childhood church;

A doll-sized plastic garbage can with a real working foot pedal mechanism, bought for me when my brother was born and that never made sense as a toy (throw away...tiny things?) but that I have stubbornly held onto for 30+ years;

And while this was only recently given to me it has sentimental value: my great grandmother’s jeweled thimble. I use it for quilting.
posted by janepanic at 5:06 AM on May 19 [3 favorites]


I still have a few items that fit this criteria. Which is pretty unlikely considering the circumstances and frequency of my moves (internationally, coast-to-coast,etc..).



One item is a piece of gaudy costume jewelry. It is a brooch and it is all fake gold and covered in like 10 carats worth of fake glass "diamonds", some of which have fallen out of their places over time. I picked it up somewhere, maybe on the side of the road on the way home from school, while I was in kindergarten. That's more than 3 decades ago!

I remember at the time I thought it was "lost treasure".. some kind of ancient talisman worn by an elven prince or something. Anyhow, it got put in a special box for safekeeping and that box, against all odds (it was once abandoned in another country I left in haste), has made it back to me.

I'm not even particularly fond of this item but since it's made such an effort to find me, it would be ungracious of me to do anything but hang on to it, and the magic box it came in.
posted by some loser at 5:09 AM on May 19 [6 favorites]


I have a little black espresso cup with a logo for the Gene Autry Hotel. I've had it since long before I knew who Gene Autry was or what espresso was. I never went there. It was just one of the indifferent "gifts" my well-traveled grandparents would give me when I visited before pouring my parents a highball and telling us to go play in the basement. It is so small, it managed to escape years of culls that have claimed more precious objects. And now, it survives because it's always been around.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:16 AM on May 19 [3 favorites]


Two things that have stayed with me since childhood (pen for scale)

The balancey thing is made from a washer, several nails, and some bearings (?) that I purchased with my own money at some craft fair in south Georgia when I was eight or nine. All I really remember about that trip was that we were in what seemed like the worlds longest line of cars going down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere to get to some place where people were selling kitschy, kountry with a k kind of stuff. Why we made that trip I have no idea, and we never did anything like that again.

The piggy bank is something that my parents bought for me right after I was born in 1964. We were living in W. Germany, in Wertheim, at a US base that no longer exists - Peden Barracks, I think.

As a child we moved five times before ending up back in my parent's home town of Augusta, GA, and as an adult I've lived in five states and I think seven cities, and those two things have been with me almost the entire time.
posted by ralan at 6:36 AM on May 19 [3 favorites]


Somewhere in a box in the closet behind me I have this Casio scientific calculator that I used in the 90s and early 00s, all throughout high school and university (altho I had a graphing calc in uni as well). It has to be almost 30 years old, still works fine, and oddly enough I'm pretty sure my parents paid the same $20 price back then as functionally equivalent versions cost today.
posted by cgg at 7:42 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]


I’ve moved 29 times, 27 between the ages of 16 and 29, and 8 of them international! So I don’t have many things from my childhood but my parents definitely do. After all these moves I’ve been in the same flat in the same country for six years now, and have accumulated so many things! The next move will be the hardest 😂.
posted by ellieBOA at 7:43 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]


I have a blow dryer I bought in August or September of 1983, as I was preparing to go away to college. I got it at Kmart. My dad gave me money to buy a blow dryer, and told me not to buy another one of these trendy cool wear-out-quick ones, and when I got home he lambasted me, telling me I had bought a shitty blow dryer and wasted his money and I was a lower &c &c.

It's been a long time since I've regularly blow-dried, but any time I need to use a blow-dryer, I get this one out and it works. And sometimes I don't think about it at all, and other times I think, "Fuck you, dad."
posted by Orlop at 7:53 AM on May 19 [10 favorites]


Way back in . . . high school? maybe junior high? my engineer dad (who clearly Had Hopes for my future career) gave me a fairly high-tech Hewlett-Packard HP11C programmable scientific calculator.

I still have it.

I still use it - to balance my checkbook. (IOW, I use the thing that was about the closest thing to a pocket computer available in the 80's, that you could probably use to land people on the Moon, for basic addition and subtraction.)
posted by soundguy99 at 8:04 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]


Across a couple of houses, many apartments and two countries, I have lugged a wicker foot locker type storage thing that has been mine since infancy. It contains most of my sentimental objects - t-shirts from important events, and stuffed animals, including Charley, the first one I ever picked out for myself. He's a dog. I love him.

[Today I am driving north with person-I-am-seeing to see him play guitar in one of his bands. Last night we were curled up watching episodes of Nailed It! and laughing and laughing and I am so digging this.]
posted by wellred at 8:05 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]


especially things that don't have any particular sentimental value

If you keep something around because it's functional, but sentimental attachment keeps you from replacing it, is there a term for that? In German or Hobbitish or Kondo-ese ? Is it a 60/40 poly blend of usefulness and filial obligation?

I have an aluminum colander from the 60s that my parents used for everything when I was a kid. It's gotten dimpled where the feet attach, so the bowl now touches the surface you rest it on, which isn't great for draining or if you have, say, peels or soap suds in the sink. But the holes are in a lovely star pattern and it's been the colander I've used my whole life; I use it almost daily. I don't eat much pasta anymore but I sure did when I was a kid, and a quick calculation makes me think it's probably drained more than a ton of pasta and maybe two tons of vegetables. A new one (with longer feet!) would definitely work better; but the sentiment is why I still use it.

I have a few other tools kinda like that--a jackknife hex key set, a tape measure, etc.--that have never needed replacing & part of whose value to me comes from the fact that I used them when I was a kid.

Oh, a few cherished Christmas ornaments, too, but those are objects whose very function is sentiment, so it seems like a different sort of choice to keep those around.
posted by miles per flower at 8:09 AM on May 19 [6 favorites]


The non-sentimental aspect of this question is surprising and neat! I think the earliest things I have in that category go back to age 12 or 13. I guess that's not too surprising - it's more or less when I started making my own decisions about stuff other than clothes and toys.

I've got a scriber from that period. I know I used it in my first under-the-table job at the age of 14 and that I had it for a while before then. All of its sibling tools have broken or been replaced by better versions. But, it just works. I don't have any sentimental attachment to it, but I occasionally use it.

I've got a lamp from the same time period that I don't much like. But, it's a perfectly good lamp, and getting a new lamp requires effort, so I've been lugging it around for decades. From a couple years later - age 15, I'd guess - I've got a watch and a Ti-85 calculator. I hate wearing watches and only do so when it's absolutely necessary, so it gets used once a year or so. The calculator I still use regularly. I've got the rom on an emulator on my phone (and hundreds of computer cores within an arm's reach most of the time), but it's so much easier for muscle memory to hit the physical buttons without looking. There are also musical instruments and books, but I'm not sure those are ever entirely non-sentimental.
The secret to a happy marriage is a king-sized comforter on a queen-sized bed.
The secret to my happy marriage is a queen size comforter on a queen size bed that's been pulled two feet to one side, so that I can leave 50% of my body exposed to air and not over heat and my spouse can be thoroughly covered up.
posted by eotvos at 8:13 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]


I still use the comb I’ve had since junior high. It’s a great comb, but neon pink and green because, you know, 1989. I thought I lost it recently and was surprisingly bereft.
posted by something something at 9:24 AM on May 19 [3 favorites]


I'm bald, but I have a comb I'll never part with.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:04 AM on May 19 [21 favorites]


Greg Ace—thanks for giving me my first out-loud laugh of the day!
posted by bookmammal at 10:07 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]


There's a chest of drawers in the bathroom that I've had since I was a baby (if you can be considered to be owning furniture at that age). On the drawers are water-decals of vintage cars my parents stuck on the drawers. Over the top of those are strips of left-over wallpaper they stuck over the cars when I was about eight in a fit of decorating. On the top of the the cabinet are stickers that came free with an early issue of Mighty World of Marvel in 1972, though they're fading now. I'm sure if I could throw it away, I'd be free on some level, but I don't know that that's going to happen.
posted by Grangousier at 10:22 AM on May 19 [4 favorites]


Due to purges in my early 20s, I have hardly anything from my childhood. What remains are my first tool: a screwdriver, from an Erector Set; and a couple wooden Duncan Yo-Yos, plus a blue plastic Duncan Imperial top. Also in my toolbox, the round sharpening stone I received with my first Boy Scout knife.

I could go on about the Erector Sets, my lead casting set as well as my American Bricks (which live in a wooden box crafted by my father) but now we're getting sentimental.
posted by Rash at 10:36 AM on May 19 [3 favorites]


I have a navy blue with white polka dot dress from when I was a toddler. There is a family photo of me and my siblings, in which I am wearing this dress. I don't have the photo -- my Mom carried a copy in her purse, but I have the dress.

I also have a rather ugly grey zippered pouch, which I use for storing my makeup. My Mom bought me a cheap nylon suitcase, to use on my 8th grade Washington D.C. trip, and it came with this pouch, and a smaller one that appears to be lost. I guess it's held up well, as that was in the late 1970's.

I don't have the salmon 3-piece polyester suit that I begged her to buy for me, so I could look cool on my trip. And the coordinating silky polyester button-up shirt that went with it, some print with Japanese art on a white background, green and salmon. I think it also had bell bottoms on the slacks.

What I didn't realize was that it was really hot and humid in D.C. in the Spring, compared to the Chicago suburbs. One of my fellow classmates got airsick, and threw up on my shirt as she was walking past me to get off the plane. All of our luggage was being ferried to the hotel, and we were scheduled for tourist stuff all day. So I had to wear my green windbreaker with the white fuzzy lining over my shirt to hide the stain, which wouldn't come out when I tried to clean it off in the tiny airplane bathroom. So not only was I incredibly hot, I smelled of vomit. Fun, fun.

I still hate polyester to this day.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 10:37 AM on May 19 [4 favorites]


Cleaning out my late Mother's home a few years back, I found my baby booties, which had been bronzed and turned in to bookends. That was once a thing. Also a roll of sewing tape with my name printed on it, which she'd cut into pieces and sew into my clothing when I was a little kid, because apparently little kids lose clothing on the playground and come home with other kids' socks.
posted by dws at 10:53 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]


Slarty, I just fist pumped on your behalf. I’ve been paying attention to your burnout and travails, and that is just so satisfying.

For myself, this coming week was supposed to be the week that I graduated medical school. (I’ve been getting congratulatory cards from #meficardclub, and they’re still making me happy even though I’m not graduating.) It’s just the latest bump in the road: the national board of medical examiners screwed up the administration of my clinical skills exam and voided it.

And it’s a graduation requirement. So I’m not graduating. This means that I can’t start my internship in July, because I won’t be a doctor yet, and now I’ve lost that position. And even though I’m still a student, I’m getting kicked out of my subsidized housing because it’s needed for new residents.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I’m pretty sanguine at this point; it seems like bad crazy shit is going to just keep happening, and I can’t keep getting upset about it because then I would just be upset all the time. My family’s got my back, for which I’m insanely grateful; they’re going to cover my living expenses for the next year.

So I’m going to spend the next year preparing for the match again, and re-taking the stupid exam, and otherwise just working on myself. This week, I started going to a CrossFit gym (I know, I know), did a pretty massive clear out of things in my apartment, and had what was supposed to be my graduation party but ended up being a celebration of friends who have been there for me through this whole crazy mess (a couple mefites were in attendance!).

I’d rather have had an easier time of things, but I can’t say I don’t feel good about myself and where I’m headed right now.

Speaking of where I’m headed, I’ll be in Chicago the last two weeks of June! (Studying to take the $@&%#?! clinical skills exam again.) Would love to see some of the Chicago crew while I’m there.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:19 AM on May 19 [12 favorites]


MetaTalk.Metafilter:a bag of perfectly gift-wrapped dicks to choke on

I use the thing that was about the closest thing to a pocket computer available in the 80's, that you could probably use to land people on the Moon, for basic addition and subtraction. That's okay, we use our access to most of the world and its knowledge to swap pictures of cats.

I accidentally landed in the fucking fuck thread instead of here, and it was a bit bewildering.

I was at school, and my Mom put the Book Trails in a yard sale, but they didn't sell, so I was able to rescue them. A set of 8 books that start out with simple stories and poems, and get progressively more complex. I have a few other childhood books. I was fortunate to grow up in a house full of books; they have always been a refuge. My Mom gave away my Breyer horses, but one of her friends returned them when she was moving, so I have a couple of them.

I love reading about your garden, Homo neanderthalensis. We finaly had a warm sunny day yesterday and I got some stuff done in raised bed #1, and prepared the containers. Planted some nasturtiums. Need to plant Moonflower and morning glory. As well as basil, cilantro, parsley and peas, green beans, lettuces, etc. I buy tomato plants because I don't have a place to start them, and I like to get a variety, so buying 5 kinds of seeds would cost as much. The cherry tomatoes do fine in big pots; I like sweet 100s. Groceries now carry only the grape tomatoes because they're sturdier, and I don't love them for that reason. My friend grows some tiny cherry/ grape tomatoes that are excellent, perhaps I can get a seedling from her. I'll get Brandywines, Beefsteak, and whatever interesting varieties are at the nursery, plus an Early Girl or 2. Raised bed #2 needs quite a bit of tilling because I added a lot of yard trimmings that didn't full compost. No idea if I'll have the energy. and I'll throw squash seeds in the side garden in case they take, they're a nice bonus. Also full of leaves and needing tilling.

Maine has black flies, savage little biters. I put on Deet, but got bit. And the dog is beinging tics dails, so time for permethrin. It's been a cold, rainy not-Spring after an early, snowy winter, though no massive blizzards. Gray again today, but I'll go try to get some seeds in, as it's not too cold. I crave warmth and sun.
posted by theora55 at 11:25 AM on May 19 [4 favorites]


I’ve moved 29 times, 27 between the ages of 16 and 29, and 8 of them international! So I don’t have many things from my childhood but my parents definitely do.

I've never added up the moves in my life (and would I just count moves between cities/countries, or does it count if you are moving to a new apartment across town? What about a summer spent house sitting? This stuff is complicated!) but it is at least as many, probably more. Every time we moved when I was a kid, part of the deal was reducing your stuff to a few bags/boxes since my parents didn't have much money and didn't want to move a lot of what they saw as unimportant, and I have done the same thing as an adult.

So, I have very few physical objects from my childhood, and nothing that isn't in the sentimental category since everything else was long ago tossed.

Not to sound gloomy, but I just this weekend realized that I need to make plans that the small amount of sentimental stuff I have (from my childhood, or a couple of things from parents/grandparents) will end with me -- I don't have kids, nor any nieces/nephews who would care, so all the physical stuff will need to be sold/donated or thrown away eventually, and it's probably best to not leave it as someone else's problem.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:01 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]


I still have all my GI Joe action figures and vehicles and have gleefully handed them down to my 12 year old son. Was fun to show him the ones that were chewed on by our family dog when I was a kid and which ones to be gentle with since those tiny rubber bands holding their crotches together aren't indestructible.

I'd give him my old MAD magazine collection but I think a lot of the cultural references would be lost on him.
posted by Twicketface at 12:30 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]


the dog is beinging tics dails The dog is bringing in ticks daily. My keyboard sucks, and I can't type, anyway.
posted by theora55 at 1:58 PM on May 19


I have my mother's bamboo rice paddle, it gets used every week. It's at least 60 years old, good as new. Rice paddle technology evolves very slowly.
posted by jamaro at 2:55 PM on May 19 [11 favorites]


I used the same beautifully made wood-and-boar-bristle hairbrush from childhood into adulthood and even used it on my own kids’ thick heads of hair. I congratulated myself for hanging on to something so useful for so many decades... until the kids’ first bout of lice, when I decided, ew, gross, maybe not necessary to keep this hairbrush after all.
posted by Knowyournuts at 4:10 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]


Oh I didn't realize scars count! I have a scar on the inside of my upper lip as a result of the plastic surgery I had to have when the emergency room doc horrifically botched the repair of the split lip I got running face-first into an orange tree in the dark while racing home to ask permission to sleep over at my friend's house when I was 8 years old. Definitely not sentimental about that!

(Seriously I think the secret to a happy marriage is not cohabitating. I would get married again but only if I can live in my own house.)
posted by HotToddy at 4:23 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]


Cgg, I recently threw out that same calculator in a whirl of Kondo-inspired decluttering because it only worked in the brightest of sunlight. It made me kind of sad!

My 6 year old is using the same pair of fluorescent orange, round-tip Fiskars scissors that I had in elementary school, complete with my name written in Sharpie on the handle in my mom’s handwriting. I kept them as part of my sewing kit because they were the odd pair of kid scissors that perfectly cut thread and yarn.

I’ve kept a couple red, apple-shaped marble trophy components from high school speech and debate because they are good book ends for my bookshelves, not because I have fond memories of Lincoln Douglas debate (but thanks, Apple Valley High School).
posted by Maarika at 4:32 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]


Though it's got absolutely nothing to do with this topic, and I know better than to post it in ask, I'm unreasonably delighted by the idea of writing,

Metafilter: It's like Sisyphus but with wild giggling

From fairlynearlyready's comment in this thread.
posted by eotvos at 4:53 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]


In the last few years my hair has gotten so thin that I finally gave up and just shave the whole thing down to stubble every two weeks. That's great actually but it did reveal a scar on the back of my head that had been hidden my my formerly thick hair for almost half a century. When I was seven or eight, I was horsing around in the living room and fell backwards hitting my head on the corner of a TV with a sheet-metal case and very sharp corners. I think it was an Admiral.

I bled like hell and needed quite a few stitches but the scar disappeared in a few weeks under all that hair and didn't resurface until a couple of years ago.
posted by octothorpe at 5:01 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]


When we lived in Germany (I was ten or eleven), I bought a little sculpture at a craft fair. It's this hollow thing made out of clay, maybe six inches tall and cylindrical with a goofy face on it. The bottom third or so is painted gray and the cylindrical shape gets all wavy. I've always used it store spare change. I still have it, and I still store change in it. It wasn't until... oh, six months ago? that I realized it's actually an ashtray. It's in the shape of a cartoony cigarette that's being stubbed out.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:33 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]


Other than some T-shirts I bought at a thrift store in high school that I still use for pajamas (and man, are they comfortable if not flattering), I can't really think of anything.

Things are going really, really well for me right now and I am enjoying the heck out of it. I officially got voted in to the Board of Trustees for my church (UU) today, and am really excited to serve. Normally I go to the Sunday services and skedaddle right on out of there because I generally have a lot to do at home, but I stayed after today for the meeting. I sat down at a table with people I've never met before, all of whom are my grandparents' age, and had a wonderful conversation. I also helped to clean up, and volunteered to be on another committee focusing on growth, which is a crisis we have right now (We are down to under 100 members, from about 170 6-7 years ago). Getting picked to be on the board is apparently a big kick in the butt to increase my involvement in an organization that has given me so much, and I am digging it.

Work is great, home life is great, boyfriend continues to be amazingly wonderful (one month on Wednesday! Everything continues to feel so right when I'm with him, which is just the best), I've got lots of fun events lined up the next couple of weekends, everything is good. yay.
posted by Fig at 7:28 PM on May 19 [13 favorites]


I'm not terribly sentimental as I have very few childhood memories. It's hard to be sentimental about something you don't have any memories of.

I have a cup engraved with my first and middle name on it from when i was born, that until last month, I thought was silver. I never really liked it but I thought I could at least sell it for scrap. Turns out it's not worth anything and i can't figure out if i just toss it, or what.

In much nicer news, despite a diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma, my dog is healing beautifully from her leg amputation and we are very grateful we went through with the surgery. It's hard making life or death decisions and we've had to make 3 so far this year.

My tomatoes are freaking gorgeous and I can't wait until they're ripe. I've already harvested 4 cucumbers and my garden looks better than it ever has. I'm actually looking forward to the zucchini overload this year.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:55 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]


Fig, if you ever wanna trade notes on 'declining membership' struggles in a small progressive church, I'm the membership development chair on my congregation's board!
posted by duffell at 7:55 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]


Other than some T-shirts I bought at a thrift store in high school that I still use for pajamas (and man, are they comfortable if not flattering), I can't really think of anything.

I have a few t-shirts that are like this. And the story sounds sentimental, but mostly isn't. The town I grew up in has an annual event. They print t-shirts every year with year on it. People collect them. I moved out of town when I was 17 and wasn't there again for more than a week until my mom died. Fuck that town. But I got older and don't hate it anymore. My sister is in the next town. My mom had a stash of these shirts that she collected which was part of the good and bad of her (like what was she saving them for?) We gave some to the historical society and I kept a few that fit. And I wear them ALL THE TIME and it's weird, I don't really think about where they came from or about my mom or anything else, just that they're super comfortable, and I like wearing a t-shirt from 1987 in some weird way.

I have a LOT of random stuff from the various points in my life. I like to think I have a reasonable amount of these things. I don't get rid of things if they still work (with a few exceptions) which means I still have ancient blankets, scrabble sets, tools. In some cases, I was just thinking about this yesterday, I'm not sure if the thing I have is the thing from childhood or the thing I got because I liked but lost the thing from childhood. I had a green blanket that I loved. I have one now. I'm not sure if it's the same one or I found one at a thrift store. I have two "Twist and Crawl" t-shirts. One is (probably) original from high school and one is not. Damned if I know which is which. I sort of appreciate being older and not caring so much. I am wearing one of them now.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:36 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]


I sell records for a living and have literally had 100s of thousands of them pass through my hands over the years... but I still own two that I've had my entire life: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Roger and Out. They were my father's, but they have no sentimental value as I never knew the man. I've kept them because they're really good albums.
posted by dobbs at 8:56 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]


Back when needle point was a thing in the 70s and Rosie Greer the football great publicly took it up, I was in my early teens. My mother got me a Peanuts, actually Snoopy and Woodstock, pattern. I started it, but never finished. I still have it. I still do a little bit for a few days when I find it in the back of the closet. I have vowed to finish it. I will finish it. Hopefully in the next half decade.

I have some desk supplies I have had for 40 or so years such as a ruler, a stapler and desk basket I made in shop in 11th grade. They all still perform their function well. Never saw the need to get rid of them.

I have about 10 coffee mugs with company logos on them that I have had for decades. Mostly I use them as pen holders or the like.

I have a collection of swag from two companies for which I worked that went bankrupt. Lots of logo golf balls, squeeze thingies, company stationary, a few t-shirts and polo shirts, etc.

My mother passed away several months ago. I was going through some of her boxes and found the cat tags, from my childhood cats. They are about 45+ years old. Not sure why my mom saved them, but she did. I loved those two cats. As a kid, sometimes they were the only ones I could talk to who would "listen". So glad to have them.

I still have my baseball cards from the 60s and 70s. Lots of them. They are not in mint condition by any stretch because I used to flip them. The memories they invoke every time I go through them make them priceless to me. I still think of Thurman Munson, my childhood sports hero. My childhood real life hero was my gym teacher, a man, a Marine who survived the Chosin Resevoir in the Korean War (my son is was just deployed to Korea by the US Army), a man with a chiseled body and a booming voice who called us all cream puffs only half joking. On the outside, he was one tough person. On the inside, he has a soft spoke for any student who was an outsider. He hated the popular clique. He would go out of his way to say hello to the shy, to the nerdy, to the socially awkward, to the special ed kids, and to me who fit several of his categories. As a 6th grader, one of our favorite things to do was to beg him, a former hockey player too, to take out his false teeth. Once, maybe twice a year he would oblige
posted by AugustWest at 9:54 PM on May 19 [5 favorites]


I also wanted to point out that we started hitting some of the points of interest on this list of cool little airports to visit. Eastport is tiny and probably more fun to visit later in the summer when things are actually open, but we enjoyed the trip and I'm looking forward to planning the next one.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:40 AM on May 20 [4 favorites]


I wanted to come share the childhood stuff I still have but honestly I have this stupid crush on a guy I barely know and it's ridiculous. I don't get crushes like this, and I think he's younger than me, and he's moving away at the end of the year anyway, and I doubt I'm even his type or that he's single. How do people deal with this, it's horrible
posted by Freeze Peach at 6:38 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]


I have a very sturdy wooden lockbox made by my godfather for my Confirmation. I still use it. I also have a ratty old rattan chair that used to sit on the porch. It now mostly holds up the occasional cat. I have an enameled cast iron Dutch oven that my mother received as a wedding gift and she gave me some 30 years ago when she got divorced. I don’t remember her cooking with it, but I think of her when I cook with it.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:16 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]


Anything I still have from my childhood is inherently sentimental--even the few things that are functional (like my great grandfather's espresso pot) are largely sentimental because anything I still have from my child is so old as to be less functional than its modern equivalent or childsized when I am not. I suppose my mother's sewing machine is the exception to that. It's a Singer from 1965 and works fine, but it could be quieter; it could be smoother. I hope to not replace it, exactly, but supplement it with something fancy and new this summer.
posted by crush at 7:54 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]


I have a cool sculpture of a mouse that my dad made when I was a baby, and he worked at a steel mill. It's made of giant steel washers and nuts and bolts, and is very cool-looking, and is also extremely fraught, because my dad is a toxic, abusive person, and I (happily, and with much relief) cut off contact with him in 2000. So I don't really want anything that's connected to him in my house, but at the same time, I like the sculpture. And he made it for me, since my nickname when I was a wee child was Mousie, because I was, well, very wee. So it lives on the bookcase in the office, where I don't see it that often, because whenever I look at it, I get sucked into a pit of conflicting and unpleasant emotions. I should just throw it away or donate it or something, but...
posted by sarcasticah at 7:56 AM on May 20 [6 favorites]


I don't have too much because of a big intercontinental move, but:
  • my grandfather's Riefler technical drawing set from the 1920s, which he won as a drawing prize at the Royal Technical College in Glasgow. It's rather too good for some of my day-to-day artwork, but it still works as well as it did 90 years ago.
  • four signed Ollie Owl books from 1979 from my car-mad days. My mum taught the illustrator's daughter, and these ones have quick pen sketches featuring Ollie's groan-worthy puns.
  • a truly dreadful Cadbury's Chocolate Block mug from the early 80s. It's been everything but a drinking mug: first an awful pencil holder, now a nest for a tiny Totoro. As a mug, it's dreadful because the square sides cause tidal waves, and the corners were always havens for LBs: the lumpy bits of undisturbed drinking chocolate.
posted by scruss at 9:18 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]


The secret to a happy marriage is a king-sized comforter on a queen-sized bed.

Also one of the secrets to living a fabulous single life on Crone Island.

I still have (in use in my kitchen) a little 1 cup liquid measuring cup and a tiny whisk that I am pretty sure are from my once-upon-a-time Easy Bake Oven. I remember tossing out the little pastry brush when it got gross, and there was once a little rolling pin too. It's entirely possible that none of these were official accessories.
posted by ktkt at 10:48 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]


And, err, I obviously did totally miss the "non-sentimental" part of the question. No, I don't think I really have anything that isn't sentimental from that long ago. I have some plastic tent pegs that were my grandpas, but I think even those have some sentimental value as I don't use them very often.
posted by loquacious at 10:55 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]


Up until this year, when it finally broke, I had a mug with pictures of various animals and people mooning the viewer, and marked "Moonshine". We called it the Butt Mug. I received it for my 12th birthday from a friend; I have no idea what was up with this mug! Somehow it has stayed with me when many other, more precious things, were broken or lost or borrowed forever. It was always the worst mug, the last one you'd use when the Le Creuset and the big vendor-swag mugs were all dirty. And now it is gone. Who mourns the Butt Mug? No one.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:01 AM on May 20 [4 favorites]


I have nothing left from childhood, not even a photograph.
posted by pracowity at 1:00 PM on May 20 [4 favorites]


In middle school I went to an estate sale with my mom, and I had my eye on a nice wicker laundry basket. In the auction it got lumped in with a lot of other cheap stuff, including a few items I turned around and sold back to other bidders, totally recouping the cost. And it also included a big white bedspread and several pairs of the thickest socks I have ever seen - they are literally sweaters for your legs. I'm not sure, but I think they may be handmade.

That laundry basket got destroyed by our cats within five years, but I still have the blanket and those socks 15-20 years later.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:31 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]


The secret to a happy marriage is a king-sized comforter on a queen-sized bed.

If I ever cohabitate again, I'm going with the Scandi-style setup of one duvet for each half of the bed. Once I ran across that idea I couldn't imagine doing it any other way.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:33 PM on May 20 [3 favorites]


I got a small basket at a yard sale. 50+ years later, it is still my sewing basket.
posted by theora55 at 2:37 PM on May 20 [4 favorites]


I have a pair of scissors too. Also a hammer, a saucepan, and at least one blanket. The latter list were largely my mom's things that she sent off to college with me. I actually have a ridiculous number of things still from my childhood, but most of them are sentimental (Christmas ornaments, a stuffed animal, photo albums, a Kashmiri rug, a carved jewelry box).
posted by Margalo Epps at 7:20 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]


I still use a keychain that somebody gave me as a gift when I was sixteen. It's a flat metal cylinder, about 4mm thick and maybe 2mm across, with a groove along the side. There's five little keyrings mounted on metal pins with a wide end lodged in the groove, and you can add and remove pins. It's really an excellent keychain if you have a bunch of keys - you can organize them on the different rings, and you can easily add and remove individual rings. There's a brass perpetual calendar on one face, but it's too tiny and by now it's mostly worn down to illegibility anyway.

It doesn't have any sentimental value - also because the gift giver wasn't that close to me and we haven't talked in maybe 15 years, but it's a damn good keycain.
posted by each day we work at 2:03 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


We didn't move as much smoke's family, but I did move more times while growing up then most people I know (10 moves). So, the couple things I still have from childhood definitely fall into the "sentimental" category. Pictures, some papers, a little statuette, a jewelry box with one leg broken off, and my first recorder.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:03 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I still have a beach towel from my childhood that has survived moving multiple times (and across the world) for no apparent sentimental reason. It is still in pretty good condition but is mostly pressed into services as a yarn blocking tool - either for rolling the item up and squishing the water out or underneath a pinned out item. Sometimes it has been a hairdye towel but I tend to mostly wear an old tshirt for that instead.

It may end up being used for cat related things but we have other old towels that can be devoted to that.
posted by halcyonday at 6:27 AM on May 21 [4 favorites]


I've got a bunch of comics that I've had since I was 8 or 9. Sadly none of them will be able to pay for my retirement or my kids' university education. I also have one small box that I put some personal effects in when I was a kid, teeth, medals, badges, etc, that has survived a bunch of moves almost untouched - I think I may have put a concert ticket or two in it later on.

My parents both immigrated to Canada so growing up I never had the chance to have their own childhood items around or get passed on to me. I kind of regret not keeping more things so that my kids would have a better idea of what I liked when I was a kid although since I grew up in the 80s all the shows I watched have been revived for my kids' consumption already so I can just say I used to watch that too.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:55 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Very little of my childhood still exists in physical form. I think I have a couple of tattered old comic books I bought off the rack at H&M Variety (which has been a parking lot since at least the late seventies). I might have one or two books from before age ten. Then it came to me, and I can even show you, after a fashion:

In my profile photo on this site, the toddler me is wearing an Irish sweater my Irish aunt knit for me. After I outgrew it, it got passed along to my cousins, then came back to my younger siblings, then sat in storage for a couple of years, then on to some kids of cousins, then some nieces and nephews, and currently it is working its way through the kids of some family friends. The current wearers’ grandparents had not even met when this thing was made, and it still is in great shape. It has been in regular use for about half a century now and it abides.

I do not still have it in the sense that I could lay my hands on it right now, but it will make its way back as it always does.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:28 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


I have a book of original Grimms Fairytales that she gave me when I was 6, that her mother gave to her when she was a child. They are creepy and wonderful and I still read it from time to time.

In other news, i sublet my room in the Bay Area and am now in the forests of British Columbia and I feel 1000% better for waking up to the sound of wind in the trees instead of my neighbors yelling.
posted by ananci at 1:19 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]


It got lost (by me) when my last move was international, but one that managed to stick with me for a solid 22 years through many moves, both family and independent:

A massive, bright pink faux fur blanket with a nice big cat-puke stain near the bottom.

It was obnoxious in appearance, I didn't particularly love it or hate it, but it was practical (I was always cold, and it was one of the warmest blankets in the house) and the texture was nice... it just somehow stuck with me and was never replaced. I have a lot more affection for it in retrospect than I ever did at the time.
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 10:01 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]


Update: my measuring cup is actually from Tupperware Toys, but I definitely used it with the Easy Bake.
posted by ktkt at 12:47 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]


The stuff I'm not sentimental about? Basically nothing, since if I have it now it's because I want it. I do have some beach towels from about 1990 that I'm always wanting to replace but never do because they are still perfectly fine.

Sentimental stuff? The pencil cup my mom made me in kindergarten by covering a frozen orange juice can with hideous 1980s yellow and green flowered contact paper. Several ugly brown towels from my parents wedding in 1971 that are the perfect size for drying hair. My Caboodles case for makeup, acquired in 6th grade and still going strong. The crocheted pillows from our old sofa are now on my sofa because my great grandmother made them, so I love them even if they are far too orange to be rationalized as good decor.
posted by gatorae at 7:11 PM on May 27 [1 favorite]


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