This morning, Jemille Williams directed me to a photo blog (Mail Online, 2013) showcasing a few of author Tracy Chevalier's keepsakes. For those of you unfamiliar with Ms. Chevalier, she writes brilliant, bestselling books such as Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Last Runaway. So I was very excited to learn that she—like me—is the guardian to many keepsakes.
Under each photo, Ms. Chevalier explained the significance of each keepsake. She mentioned that she is the keeper of a chartreuse, turquoise, and indigo scarf that belonged to her mother who died when she was just eight years old. Chevalier noted in the caption that she wears the scarf a lot.
I'm reminded of the heart-shaped locket on the front of my book and how it came to be in my own keepsake collection. My grandmother gave it to me for Christmas over forty years ago. Today, it's fashionably outdated, dented, and has scratches on it, yet I wear the clunky piece some days. I love to feel the large metal casing on my chest—near my heart. Every time I feel it, I am reminded of my grandmother. I'm sure that Ms. Chevalier loves to wrap her heirloom around her neck like the loving arms of her mother embracing her once again. It's a feeling I know so well.
She also shared the stories behind a wine bottle named for her book, Girl with a Pearl Earring, a unicorn pendant, and notebooks filled with research scribblings—each one wrapped in fabrics appropriate to the novel's theme. She talked about a pair of artsy earrings she purchased after a successful book reading, a fossil, and her quilts. You can browse Chevalier's keepsakes here.
The subtitle of my book is: Everyone has a keepsake, and every keepsake has a story to tell. It's true. I know you have one. I've never met a person who didn't have something that they've held onto through the years—something that brings a flood of memories to the forefront. What's yours? And why do you keep it?