When I picked up my great-grandfather's keychain and wrapped my fingers around it, the experience was at once grand and small. The keys hold a handful of mysterious secrets. The keys are the zenith of utilitarianism. The keys are personal and quiet. The keys jangle. I long to know every single thing this collection unlocked.
Look at my great grandmother's pin cube.
If I were to extract a pin from it and prick my finger, a red dot of blood--in part Phillippina's--would bloom. How many times did she curse one of these pins for that very offense? Did she utter German oaths? Imagine her positioning the fine wire of her spectacles over her ears. Touching them overwhelmed me.
It is always these details that command your heart and your tears. It is always always always these tiny things.
Some advice: Live the right way. Imbue the things around you with honest energy. Your inane particulars may one day resonate with someone who hasn't been born yet. Your things will leave an impression. They will say something about who you were. Your things may one day make someone reconsider the word tangible.
Our residual energy lives on forever.
Higher resolution copies of these photos are available here. Those uncropped versions include the entire Certificates of Naturalization and my great grandfather's shaving things.
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