Junk Drawer Treasures

When my husband and I moved into our house about twenty years ago, I did not plan on having a kitchen junk drawer, but one just materialized over time and is now filled with …well, a lot of junk. There are some pens, scissors, little light bulbs, a lanyard keychain my niece made at camp at least ten years ago, a ping pong ball (was that a toy for the cat?!), a plastic Santa Claus ring (!), a matchbook from a place my husband and I stayed at in South Carolina about twenty years ago (I’m not kidding!), and the list goes on.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you (and everyone, for that matter!) have a junk drawer where you live or work!

Check out this really neat article from npr.org about “The Great American Junk Drawer”

Indeed, I would agree that the contents of each person’s junk drawer say a lot about the person and his or her life.

I also think that an occasional inventory of a person’s junk drawer is like a walk down memory lane. As I sort through my junk drawer, I remember my teenage niece as a little girl who used to come over to cook with me and the fun we had. I remember the trip to South Carolina and how my husband and I fell in love with that city. I remember so many happy Christmas holidays with family and friends.

One of the joys of going through a junk drawer or box of keepsakes is that opportunity to remember events and people from our past. 

This idea of remembering is one we share at Maria College with students in the FYE 101—First Year Experience course. One of our texts for the course is a book entitled This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women which consists of very short essays from regular every-day people to famous celebrities, scientists, and so on hosted by This I Believe, Inc., and broadcast on National Public Radio. Here’s a link to help you learn more about the work of This I Believe, Inc.

During the very first class of FYE 101, instructors ask students to choose an object that is meaningful to them and bring that object to the next class to share. We also present one of the This I Believe essays entitled “Scraps and Mementos of Myself” by Elizabeth Onusko. Listen to Ms. Onusko read her essay.

As one of several FYE instructors over the past few years, I have been so absolutely taken by the students and the objects they choose to share. There was the student who brought in a watch that reminded her of her sister who inspires her every day. Another student brought in a jacket made of various pieces of silk fabric from clothing that belonged to her Asian grandmother. And a young gentleman brought in a soccer ball to show how much that sport has meant to him over the years. Students bring in photos of children and pets, pieces of jewelry that are significant, and works of art that they themselves created. 

All of us in the FYE class learn so much about ourselves and each other through this activity!

Check out your own junk drawer or keepsake box, and let us know about an object that is meaningful to you!

Until next time…


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