What’s the oldest thing you own? (Toys, clothing, twinkies, Grecian urns: anything’s fair game.) Recount its history — from the object’s point of view.
I think the oldest thing I own is an antique Japanese hand-painted Dragon tea set that I bought at Treasure Mart on 83rd and Blondo, where Mary’s Book Exchange was when I was a kid. They aren’t there anymore, there was a fire some months back and the building – which included Dragon’s Lair, a comic shop I spent a lot of time (and money) in when I was young – is gone. It’s an empty lot now, though I suspect it won’t be for long. Who knows what will be in its spot.
I say I think because I also got a Samurai doll on a stand at the same shop but I have no idea which is older so I’m going to say the tea pot.
We were a present given to a young woman about to be married to a man overseas whom she had never met but only seen in a photograph. She carefully packed my companions and me with her belongings then set off to her new life in new country.
But the man she married was not as she was told. She married him anyway. What choice did she have?
Her dreams of happiness were shattered just like my lid and several tea cups. At the careless hands of a drunken savage. Over the years we were sold individually or in small groups until only I, two saucers and a cup remained.
When the woman, now white haired and weary, died, we were delivered to a rummage shop by her grandson. Here we waited patiently for our new owner to claim us. After many years, a young woman chose us and we remained on the upper top shelf of a built-in bookshelf.
After many more years we were moved once again. The cup did not survive. His shattered remains are shrouded, wrapped in paper towels and encased in a plastic bag.
The young woman, now a middle aged woman with gray at her temples, promised that someday she would try to fix him. It hasn’t happened yet. Maybe it never will. His body remains to remind us of what could be. What fate could befall us.
And so we wait.
At least we aren’t dusty.