Writing for the Denver Post, a friend, Claire Walter, gathered some wonderful stories about keepsakes and how they keep us healthy. Check out the article; there are medical studies that indicate that keepsakes aren’t just kitsch. Because they mean something (have a story attached), they help us stay balanced, in-touch-with-our-past, and healthy. As an example, Walter lets Hollis Brooks tell the story of her lamp:
“There is a pretty lamp in my life that I inherited from my mother . . .. It was her favorite lamp, and I have recollections of her standing by it, admiring it and saying aloud to me, ‘Oh! This little lamp gives me pleasure every time I look at it.’ “
“It has a porcelain base, painted with a peacock. It is colorful and somewhat distinctive, but not the sort of decorative item that brings the word ‘wow!’ to mind. After my parents died, the lamp came my way, making the journey from Connecticut to Colorado. I have placed it by my bedside, so it’s the last thing I see before I close my eyes to sleep.
“I have moved seven times since my mother’s death, and wherever I live, the lamp is the first item I place in my new nest. What makes the lamp extra-special: there is a tiny scrap of paper nestled in the lamp underside. It reads, in my mom’s distinctive handwriting: ‘For Hol. xx.’ Sometimes when I need my spirits lifted, I sit by the lamp and turn it upside down to read the note. And I always feel my own light go on again.”
After a fire, flood or tornado, there’s a deep reason why we are willing to sift through the rubble looking for the keepsakes. We need them.