Welcome to the . . .
. . . where this month’s exhibit features, well, what some people might refer to as . . . junk! Yes. This month’s Museum of Me prompt has us revealing old, worn-out things that we simply cannot part with.
I’m gonna admit that this one was a real head-scratcher for me at first. I’m not a real holder-onto-er of stuff that’s old and worn out. I mean . . . I definitely keep some sentimental things, and I treasure them. But my personal bar for “keeping” is set pretty high. As in, well. I part with a lot of stuff (and I have no regrets). That said, I do tend to keep a few things that are probably nearing the end of their useful life (thus old and worn-out) . . . but I just keep using them.
So it hit me the other day . . . as I was flipping pancakes . . . that I do have a few oddball items in my life. If you look at these random things, they might look like old, worn-out things. And you might wonder why I’m holding on to these pieces of . . . junk. But, to me, none of them are junk. These things might be old, but they still serve a useful purpose. And I can’t part with them.
A spatula, a hammer, and a strainer.
This spatula has been around for a long, long time. It was a shower gift . . . for my mom . . . back in 1956. Originally, it was part of a multi-utensil set that also included a ladle, a 2-pronged fork, and a potato masher. The handles are melamine (they were 1950s orange originally; now they’re . . . an old and faded shade of dull red), and the utensils themselves were substantial. Made to last. (And they did.)
When I watched my mom cook, these were the utensils I saw her use. When I learned the basics of cooking as a young teenager, these were the utensils I used. When I did the dishes, these were the utensils I washed. (In fact, that spatula? It’s the very one I hit my sister in the face with – on purpose – as we bickered about doing the dishes one night as surly teens.) (We were never at our best when forced to do dishes together. Just sayin.)
When my mom died, and I needed to downsize my dad’s life, I kept the spatula for myself. Not only is it sort of sentimental for me, but . . . it is one GREAT spatula! It’s substantial while also being thin. It has a good heft and “feel.” Nothing is better for flipping a pancake. The handle looks pretty bad now — it’s discolored, there’s a big chip on one corner (NOT from the aforementioned incident between sisters, mind you), and there is a burn mark on the back from where it met with a hot burner.
It’s old. It’s worn out. I can’t part with it. (And I still use it.)
This hammer, my goodness. It’s been around even longer than that spatula! (My dad, the hammer’s prior-to-me-owner, cannot recall – or never knew – its provenance.) It’s a smaller hammer; fairly lightweight. The handle (while a bit of a chipped mess there) is super smooth . . . from years and years of use. It’s been “repaired” (or something; probably had a new handle at one point, maybe?). Anyway. It’s been . . . around.
When I was a little girl, I used to spend time with my dad as he tinkered around with various projects in his basement workroom. He gave me my “own” tools — that very hammer (which was old then, and looked just like it does now), a little screwdriver, and leftover scraps of wood, nails, and screws. He didn’t really instruct much, and he didn’t direct my efforts. He just let me go for it – on my own – right there on his workroom floor. I didn’t really make anything, but I did a lot of nail-pounding. (And it kept me quiet and out of his hair.) (Even as a surly teen, I turned to nail-pounding when I needed to let off a little steam.)
When I went to college, my dad put together a little “tool kit” for me — and it included that little hammer. I’ve kept it ever since. Although Tom has quite a collection of hammers in different sizes and for different purposes, I always prefer my little hammer whenever I have any hammering to do.
It’s old. It’s worn out. I can’t part with it. (And I still use it.)
This strainer, oh it is a sad little piece of equipment. This strainer was part of a wedding shower gift for me – back in 1981. It was part of a set similar to the one my mom received — although not nearly as well made. Certainly not made to last. The handle is plastic with a “veggie decal” stuck on, and the only companion piece that remains is my potato masher. (The strainer and the potato masher remain because they didn’t get much use in my kitchen.) As you can see, this strainer is rusty and badly smooshed . . . and really kinda gross looking.
Over the years, I haven’t really had much call for using a small strainer like this, so mostly it just sits toward the back of my utensil drawer. Just in case. Once, Tom used it to help retrieve one of my contact lenses from the drain in the bathroom sink. I’ve used it to strain lemon seeds from the juices sometimes. And I use it now and then to sprinkle powdered sugar over baked goods. It’s ugly. But it still serves a purpose. I have a bigger strainer — newer, more substantial, not rusty. But I keep this little, rusty one around, too.
It’s old. It’s worn out. And for some reason, I can’t seem to part with it. (And I do still use it.) (Just not very often.)
One person’s junk; another person’s treasure!
How about you? What old, worn-out thing do you have in your life . . . that you just can’t bear to part with?
Thanks for visiting the Museum of Me. Watch for new exhibits . . . on the 2nd Friday of each month. If you’re a blogger and you’d like to create a Museum of Me along with me on your own blog, let me know. I’ll send you our “exhibit schedule” (a list of monthly prompts) and we can tell our stories together.
These are great things with even better stories! (I still use my nana’s potato peeler… and the potato masher she gave me when I got married!) Some things are made well… and there is no need to replace them!
I would love to have a spatula like the one my mother used. It was flexible and thin, perfect for pancakes. They are very hard to find, nowadays.
I have a similar hammer that I bought for myself when I moved into my first apartment. The hammer fits my small hands perfectly. I have a small set of “very useful tools” that are only mine. Smith loves my hammer so I must be present if he uses it. 😀
My mother had some cooking utensils with that same vegetable decoration back in the ’80s! I think she also had a small casserole dish that matched. Perhaps it was a shower or wedding gift as well. I don’t think I have any treasures like this, though I’m sure I’ll inherit some one day. A couple of decades ago, when my grandparents were still alive and were preparing to move into a senior living facility, my father and I drove up to Michigan to help them sort through things. I still remember sitting with my grandmother in her kitchen as she showed us things she had that were *her* mother’s (she had to be in her mid- to late 80s at this point) and that she didn’t want to give up even though they were moving into a much smaller apartment. Now I kind of wish I’d offered to take them!
I knew that was a fine spatula as soon as I saw the photo! I’m still using the one from the set my grandmother got me 40 years ago, but it’s nowhere near as worn thin, flexible, and perfect as yours!
This is so great! I have a small group of very old and well used kitchen tools. If I looked with an unbiased eye these would seem pretty battered and questionable. I treasure them, used by my mom, grandmother, my MIL and her mother. Not only are they metal and wood and say “made in the USA” on them but because of all the time they spent in these womens’ hands. I think there’s some woo-woo good spirit in them.
Another fabulous entry in you Museum of Me!Thank you!
Because we moved three times in two years, I can’t think of anything that we kept that is “worn out”, but sentimental. Maybe the baby spoon and fork that was my Dad’s when he was a baby. Most of the silver has worn off in spots, but they are the perfect spoon/fork for serving up Giroux’s dinner. So I keep them.
Yeah…I’ll go with the spoon and fork. They are awfully cute.
Industrial strength kitchen tools (my in-laws) and some sentimental jewelry (my mom’s). I have a tiny bit of both. And nothing much else. I also cling on to a rubber-coated baby spoon of my daughter’s. It fits into tiny jars and gives me wonderful memories of her infant years the few times a year that I need it. These days you can’t even find glass baby food jars very often. A practical storage container (stitch markers!) that I thought would be available forever. Hold onto anything sturdy!
The stories behind these 3 items are wonderful and you wrote the beautifully. I think we all have sentimental items like this but every time I consider this topic the only old thing I can’t part with that I can think of is . . . Dale! hahahaha!
The hammer! My dad worked with tools all his life. Grew up on a farm so…yeah everything needs fixing at some point. Worked as the guy who fixed the machine in a factory for his career. Also did building/renovations on the side for extra income (family of 6). So he had tools and appreciated them. My three brothers also had/have tools. When cleaning out one brother’s house after his death we found 50 gallon buckets of tape measures, wrenches…. My dad even gifted me a set of basic tools when my husband and I bought a house. I have them in a green tray under the kitchen sink because I know where they are in the dark, lol. Lot of history in our tools.
I have my dad’s hammer – very similar condition! There is the tennis racket bottle opener – very sentimental and one of the three items Dan has been told must live on after us and my parents shot glass. I smile and think of my Dad pretty much every time I use it. Regularity not to be disclosed 🙂
I love the stories these tools have – and I don’t think I have anything similar. humm… which kind of surprises me because my folks definitely kept things. but I guess my mom gave kitchen stuff to my sister (after her divorce when she was setting up house again. pretty much from scratch). I did get lots of pretty things, “useful” in a much different way.