Your Oldest Possession?

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Asmodeus, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. Meet Casio.

    A quartz PQ8 pocket alarm, made in Japan, with basic and snooze settings, ergonomic time setting and 24-hour format option.

    This was bought for me almost 20 years ago, on the first Christmas after my brother died. When an English family in the early 90s suffered tragedy it wasn't something you talked about. There was no grand verbalizing of our problems, no shrinks or online journals to pour over. They way we dealt with it was in solitude and silence, and, occasionally, in the little actions one might glimpse. This was one such moment. My mother took me on a trip to Peterborough, a city about an hour's drive away, where they had one of the only malls in the country at the time. Back then I was terrified of mortality and in possession of a head that almost bled with Life's questions. But I was given reprieve from my dwelling when Mum pointed me at a row of digital clocks in a shop and told me to pick one out.

    It was the first "gadget" I would ever own.

    I chose Casio because it was small and compact, sleek to the touch and with round corners that broke the harshness of the square edge. I remember thinking at the time that it was like a Transformer, or like the smooth pieces of Lego that you never owned enough of in your Lego box.

    When I started school, this clock was the demon hanging over me. Its alarm tone, at first quietly polite, then growing in volume to a deafening shrill, was the sound that woke me every morning. For 7 years it announced the start of each day of bullying, anxiety and hiding. With that alarm the wild fantasies that I dreamed about would end and I would be torn from the comfort of my bed, the haven of my room; out into the cold and the long journey to school and the psychological torment unique to that Grammar School breed of bully.

    Sometimes I would wake early and grip that alarm clock in my hand, as if to smother it, to crush it away, to stop time itself so that I would never have to leave my dreams.

    Then it went with me to University, where I continued my tradition of hiding from people in my bug-infested dorm room. Casio would chime and I would run up the hill to the lecture hall, avoiding as many people as I could. And late at night, as I paced my room drinking rum and writing poetry on the walls, Casio would be there glinting, its time display reminding me how ridiculously emo this all was.

    Casio then followed me into the trenches and sleeping bags of Army life. For three years the little clock would be nestled in my pocket, or at the bottom of my bergen, muffled so its alarm wouldn't give away our position. It would wake me for sentry duty, and for the morning stand-to. When it was dark and raining and my helmet was dripping with water, my cut hands would always find the smooth edges of that clock, far easier than I could find the safety-catch of my rifle or the switch of my flashlight. Casio was jostled and crushed and jiggled through every training exercise, but still it kept on ticking.

    Then, when my Army career was done, Casio grew slowly from demon into angel. It was the clock that kept me punctual in my first relationship (yep, no girlfriend till the age of 23 - so all you 14 year old smutters can just calm the fuck down and accept that relationships aren't a race). It would tell me when I had to jump in my car and drive the half-hour to see my girlfriend, and when I stayed over Casio would come with me and be the first thing I looked at in the morning. Through drunken nights and sex-haze mornings, hangovers and parties, that clock would at one time or another be picked up and checked.

    Then when I left home, Casio was in the boxes that I packed. Its chime returned as the harbinger of daylight doom, waking me for the long days at the care home where I worked with the perpetual threat of violence. Funny how a tone can make your heart feel like it's being stabbed. For two years Casio beeped and flashed with the reminder that today could be the day I got knifed or pushed down stairs or had a bone snapped or shit thrown in my face.

    And then... like another metamorphosis... everything changed. Casio was placed on my bedside table and whenever I looked at it I would subtract five hours and work out what time it was for Tegan, that online phantom who challenged my every facet. At times I would set the alarm, for when Tegan got off work or logged into Skype, as if with that chime we were somehow linked, caught in echoes of each others' lives. I would sometimes wake, at 3am or 4, check the clock, and know that it was cool to switch on my laptop, because Tegan would still be around.

    Then I held Casio in my hand, spinning and squeezing it as I waited for Tegan's plane to land. Checking the time, over and over, until I could get in the car and go pick her up.

    Then the wedding, then the reception, then catching my own flight to America.

    And now, Casio sits on my bedside table in Arkansas, tracking the minutes and hours of my happiness. It has never stopped working. Its display has never dulled. It still has scratches on the back from where I dropped it in a trench. And I can still spin it through my fingers as well as any pen or cellphone.

    This clock has been with me through every stage of my adolescence, and I hope it will be there beside me when I die.

    What is your oldest possession - the thing that has been with you through thick and thin?

    And I don't mean something that's sat in your attic for 20 years. I mean something that has been a PART of your life.

    Do not reply if:

    - You want to tell us how you don't value possessions. Go back to Facebook and share a picture of your next meal with all the other hipsters.
    - You think your oldest possession is the love of family and the power of friendship. You're a faggot and a Disney stormtrooper.
    - You want to pretend that you REALLY CAN use that crappy fanboy Japanese sword that you spent your insulin money on.
    - You want to point out the Freudian connection between my alarm clock and my penis.
    - You're upset that I've been in the Army, got bullied and lost a family member, and want to assure me that you've in fact suffered much more profoundly.
    - You want to hold up an item to the camera but ensure that most of the shot is your tits which are just TOO DAMN BIG to find a comfortable bra size for. You shit just like the rest of us.

  2. Say hello to my oldest friend, my clarinet.

    He and I have an odd relationship. Band was offered in my school when you entered the 4th grade and I wanted to learn the drums. However my family being the traditional sexist Asian family told me that as a girl I wasn't allowed to play something so masculine. So instead they told me I could learn the flute or the clarinet. I reluctantly chose the clarinet.

    I knew at the time that I wasn't going to be a musician for my career, I just joined band because I thought it looked cool and I did have a love for music. I never had that natural talent that some of the other students had, and it took me longer than the rest of the students to reach the notes in the higher register and when I did, it sounded like I was killing a cat.

    When I finished 7th grade, I was still attending band, but my family was preparing to move. Solectron - a company where my entire family to my grandfather, parents, uncles, grand uncle and grand aunt were employed - decided to outsource to China. They laid off more than half my family, leaving them to scramble for work in the Bay Area. Now living there as opposed to Sacramento - where I live now - is ridiculously expensive. A one bedroom apartment here would cost about $1000, in the Bay Area it would cost upwards to $1200-$2000. During 7th grade, my family started looking elsewhere to live, my uncle being the first to find out about Sacramento, and their suburbs. He already moved with his family and insisted that we do as well. For that entire year, on almost every weekend, I was forced into the mini van and survive the two hour drive to Sacramento, where I would sulk as my family looked at model house, after model house. To my relief, and dismay, my family settled on a two story cookie cutter house. They sold our current house in the Bay Area (which I believed is haunted by my late uncle) and moved into an apartment until our new house was finished.

    Then, that summer after I finished 7th grade, and told all of my beloved friends that I would be leaving, we moved.

    We had a giant U-haul for all of our things, but we still had to make two trips. I was finally given a room of my own, as did my brother. Everything in the house smelled like paint and of course the first things we got inside the house was our beds, and in the chaos of moving, I saw my clarinet case laying there in the middle of my new room. I figured one of my parents put it there to help me relax, but the sting of it being the 'feminine instrument' was still there.

    In 8th grade I enrolled in my new middle school's band program. Well, I think my mother enrolled me, she was pretty adamant that I continue playing my clarinet. "We payed $800 for it, so don't waste it!" By then my depression levels dropped at an all time low. The first day of school I spent hanging around the pillars near the cafeteria, far too shy and scared to go in there and eat. And I definitely was far too shy to talk to anyone. This quickly led to a minor eating disorder, and a social/people phobia that still resides in me as a perpetual shyness. Gone was the bubbly, smiling Jenn. I ended up finding some friends, half of them being attention whores, except for Stacy. She and I were the shy ones in the group and she became my best friend throughout that painful year. And in my new band I got my first real boyfriend.

    But music didn't help me cope as well anymore. I was still shy, and it didn't feel like I was getting better at playing my instrument. I still wasn't able to hit the higher notes. Concerts were rather ridiculous, I remember once we played Spongebob Squarepants because our band director was too afraid to have us compete.

    In my freshman year I again was separated from the friends I made in middle school. This prompted my boyfriend to break up with me because he and I were going into separate high schools. (I'm not bitter about it, I'm actually glad he did it.) Again I was enrolled in band but this time it had a different atmosphere. I met Ariana, and Maija, my two closest friends, Amaretta, Rae, the Twins, Sarah, and Steve, all of whom I spent lunch with near the band room. Ariana and I were able to progress into Marching Band, where our school competed with other schools in the state. This led to my first real argument with my family. To compete, every one of us in band would have to travel on a school bus out of town during the weekends. My family - brainwashed by the news and scarred from the Vietnam War - believed that taking a step out of the house would lead to a very painful and agonizing death by either a kidnapper or a rapist. Of course I thought this was absolute bullshit and prepared for battle.

    I fought and I screamed, slammed doors and scared my parents. What happened to timid, obedient Jenn? The argument escalated in my room, where my brain became wrapped up in the unfairness of the situation. Time after time, my parents said no to every social outing with friends, birthday parties almost never happened with me, and phone calls were never private because my family would listen to the other line. In anger, desperation, and absolute pity, I cried.

    My mother couldn't believe I had stooped to something so low as tears, and they let me go to my first competition.

    My sophomore year was filled with much merriment. We had an awesome band, with some very talented musicians. But the next year our seniors left, along with our leadership. In the middle of my junior year, I begged to be dropped from marching band. I couldn't tolerate the douchebags in every section, couldn't tolerate our band teacher who just yelled at these people but didn't deal out punishment, and I couldn't take how music, which was so vibrant and moving in my freshman year, had turned stale and gray.

    I dropped out of band for the rest of my high school career, and didn't return until college, where I saw some of my friends from middle school again. (Along with my ex.) I joined college band for a semester and stopped. I've been without band for almost three years now, but I can still feel the pull of it. I still remember the tangy, dry taste of my reed, how the key to the high C gets stuck every and then, or the loose screws around the keys to my A. I remember using our ears to work together as a band when we were about to hit a harmony or a single note together, and I found it so beautiful that we did this without saying a single word to each other.

    Perhaps if the calling is loud enough or my soul wants it hard enough, I'll go back to band. But for now my clarinet is gonna sit on the shelf a little longer.
  3. My initial urge when I started thinking about things that I have kept for a long time was a stuffed bear. A rainbow beany baby bear that I got when my younger sister passed away a month after being born. My younger brother, who would only of been a year older than her, also inherited one. It wasn't one of those silly ones that just sit on its bum and stare at you all day, it was one of those slightly more uncommon ones that layed on its belly and looked up at you no matter what you were doing. Although this is my oldest and dearest possesion, it is sadly not the one that has actually felt a part of me.

    That would be Almond. I was given Almond around September, 2010 by a boy who is three years older than myself, currently eight-teen now, who had a psychotic addiction with me. I found that out after knowing him for several months but, anyway, that is a long and very complicated story for another time. It did not end well. He had given me the small, hazel brown bear with eyes that always seem annoyed, yet cute, in a small basket filled with large chocolate bars. The first thing I did after taking off the plastic wrapper covering the bear who held a small red box with pins and brooches inside, was pick a gender. I just couldn't though so moved on to names. There were several that I came up with, all representing things that I liked during that very moment in time, or at least recently; Cocoa, Coffee, Nut, etc. until I came down to Hazel and Almond. Not knowing the gender, yet naming it Hazel, made it seem too feminine, so Almond it was.

    Time went on as it always does but I still had yet to actually feel an attachment to the bear. I would, however, occasionally go to sleep with it in my arms, yet a book still more often took its place. Soon it was already 2011 and school had started and with it I had safely assumed that the boy had left me for good after various, almost begging, letters and up front confrontations from my parents to his about the matter of keeping their son away from me. Three weeks after it began, things temporarily hit rock bottom for the rest of the year whenever it concered him or his family who had been secretly plotting for us to get engaged and married in the nearest possible future. Cut short, he followed me on the way home and confessed his 'love' and I pretty much just smashed his heart on the floor; having absolutely no experience with those kinds of things whatsoever. That night and every time afterwards that I thought about him I cried as well and for once, I actually found consolation with Almond. To me, he (which I later dubbed him to be) was the only one that I could confine everything that was hurting me in, without actually having to say anything aloud in order for him to understand. This went on for a while; me silently crying my woes into the stuffed bear during the night about a boy I had thought to of loved back yet realised hadn't been so at the last moment. I grew out of this, thankfully, by no later than September later that year, Almond by my side the entire time, just absorbing everything I couldn't hold in.

    You see, I am not one of those people who like to share my personal feelings and life with others unless I either feel close with them in some way or I have to, the latter never having to come in to play before. Even then it will rarely be anything that holds negativity. I always share my positivity with others whenever I can because I know that if I hate it when others dump their sadness on me, why would I ever want to do the same back to them? So I didn't. I've always been my own negativity sponge; letting others cry and tell me their secrets and past and fears while I keep my own problems bottles up tight. Almond was my only release and even when I neglected him for several months at a time, I felt as if he could understand and forgive. Yes, a thought for a lunatic who believes that inanimate objects can feel and think and learn. This is not so. It is only what I imagined in my lonely, misunderstood and depressed state of mind.

    Things got worse in December due to my step-mother, all the way up until March, meanwhile staying at a friend's house for the time being. Almond, of course, had come as well and although my friend occasionally eyes him with suspicion, let him be without comment, her being two years younger than myself. Abruptly, the mother of said friend got remarried and the household began to get a bit more tense due to several other factors as well and we were forced to leave for the time being, our stuff, Almond included, being left there until we had settled back down again. Several months later, our bags were returned to us and although I hadn't been searching for him in particular, suddenly there was Almond. I stared at him in shock for only a second before bursting out crying silently and hugging him tightly to my chest.

    From then on, up until now, Almond has always stayed with me whenever on a trip or journey for anywhere more than an hour or so away. Wherever I went, I would bring him along because I realised just how major an impact that ball of fuzz had made on my heart, being the only thing in my life so far who only took away the pain. A few months ago, while visiting a village however, my brother and I got into an enormous row over absoultely nothing so I let him yell and hit me and stayed still throughout it all until the last bit where he ripped Almond, my heart pretty much, away from me and tore off one of his legs. I snapped then and something still hasn't been the same between my brother, myself and Almond. I feel further away from the both of them as if I hadn't protected the bear well enough and his mutilation was my own fault but at the same time I also learned to hate my brother in a new way, seeing that he would always be there to crush anything that I cared about. God forbid he gets mad at me.

    Now, both of Almond's legs and arms have been ripped off in tantrums, along with stuffing being pulled out with them. It hurts me to look at him; Almond, my cross-dressing bear who always smelled of girly perfume yet remained a male in my mind. Heh... I always could just take him to a tailor's to get fixed but to me that feels like it only makes more opportunities for my brother to hurt me again and again, so I just leave him be for now, waiting for that moment when something will tell me that's it's safe to fix him again without me getting hurt afterwards.


    Uhm.... there's actually a pic of Almond as my Profile Pic >///<' Before he got ripped up, of course.
    Sorry if all that sounded ridiculous to anyone but, eh, that's all just how I feel at the moment ^^'

  4. My oldest possession is a necklace made for me as a child by my great-grandmother. With very "traditional" viewpoints, being nearly ninety when I was born, she valued little boys over little girls. This wasn't some deep reading into things, it was simply that the girls must understand the boys when they make mistakes and be there to: make things better, forgive them unconditionally, and never get mad at them for it. I was also not expected by her to end up with a career in life or those other unfeminine things.

    However, this said, she still tried very hard to make me feel cared for and I know that she genuinely loved me. She did many kind things for me despite being very old. One of these things was making a red and white beaded necklace (by hand) for me. It was beautiful and delicate and precious. I loved it endlessly and it made me feel like the most adored and pretty girl in the world (I was like four, so). I remember her fastening it around my neck for the first time when she'd finished making it and telling me that when I got older she would make extensions for the necklace so that it would still fit. Needless to say, that did not happen, but I fortunately did not grow too terribly much and it still fits me, just a bit less loose than intended.

    I still keep this necklace and I wear it from time to special occasions, though I am afraid of something happening to it and keep it in a jewelry box the rest of the time. I know where it is always, though, and it's one of the possessions that I've never once lost or misplaced. It seems silly but when I'm upset, I still like to put the necklace on just to sit around and remember that it made me feel like the most cherished person in the world when it was made for me.
  5. I don't have a picture and it broke when we moved last year, but for the longest time, my oldest possession was a little musical snow globe my dad got for me as a toddler at Sea World. It played a very sweet tune if you turned a knob on the bottom, and when it did, the little dolphins and such on the platform inside would spin around with it. It was a lovely piece, and I really treasured it. I used to turn it on next to my bed even in my older years, especially when I was upset, to help me feel relaxed to sleep. My dad went through a lot trying to get it for me when I was small, and I begged and cried for it...I really loved it dearly, and even though it's broken now (the glass broke in the box and all the liquid fell out, and the dolphins broke...It was a really nasty break, and I cried when I saw it)...

    I still think of it dearly, and will never forget about it. I love it to pieces, and even if it's in pieces somewhere else now. It really was like a part of me, always there when I was sad, and always helping me smile when I was lonely or even if I was happy. Though...There was a time it depressed me...Because when I was young, when my mother left me, I had thought she gave it to me, not my father. I was too young to remember it well. But then dad told me the story of how he got it...And it took time, but I stopped feeling upset, and it helped me find comfort in it again.
  6. While I have older possessions, the one that has been with me the most is my cassette player. As a young child, I first had a playschool turntable and later a playschool tape player, tings that I felt I had greatly outgrown by the time I was in gradeschool. I wanted a real cassette player more than almost anything else, one that would record my own singing on those tempting memorex tapes with the yellow labels where I could scribble my own name and the show I was doing at the time. One Christmas, I was given several such memorex tapes, along with the cassette player. I remember actually hugging it with happiness.

    It wasn't anything fancy. Grey-tan with black with a white microphone capture bit built in, it was hard and serious and very grown up looking. It was a measure of independence from early childhood toys with their primary colors and oversized buttons. This was real, a real cassette player, a real recording tool. I believe I recorded that day, singing songs and whatnot. As the years went on, it would be used to record silly radio shows with friends and family, turned on in stealth when friends slept over to capture the best bits of nearly spontaneous comedy, and carried all over whichever house we lived in. It ws a uniting factor for my brother and me. We'd do little shows where I'd be the host and he'd be any number of silly guests. We got along for those brief moments, rare occurrences for two siblings who fought so much and so loudly.

    When I was eleven or twelve, we were living in a small cabin in the woods. I still loved my cassette player, but cds were becoming all the rage, cassettes were being phased out, and I had upgrade fever. Another Christmas, another gift, this time a giant sound system, which we dubbed SSS. Stereo, with cd player, radio, and two cassette slots, it was the coolest, best thing for a preteen girl to get for Christmas. And yet...

    And yet I hung onto my cassette player. I carried it downstairs and used it when I did the dishes, took it outside on the porch, and still recorded my friends and myself on it. We moved, and both peices of tech went with me. I made new friends and now those friends were the ones being recorded. I remember painstakingly cleaning the outside of the cassette player so it looked new again. But through all of this, things were tough. My brother and I, both with very different emotional problems, were fighting more than ever. We were both on medication that didn't help, both having problems with bullies in school, and then he went briefly onto a cycle of medicine that caused him to act out in bizarre ways. Throwing stuff at cars, spray painting the lawn and the doors to the buildings we had, ... cutting the cord to my cassette player completely in two.

    I was furious! I was also fourteen, in a very difficult prep school, and highly stressed. I didn't speak to him for days except for a word here or there. Dad was thankfully able to tape the cord back together, but for some reason, it hurt a lot to see my brother destroy something that had given us both so much joy. Or at least attempt to destroy it. My brother and I went through a lot, to where we were physically fighting one another for a time. But then I moved off to college. The tape recorder went with me, was put away on a shelf during my first marriage. I managed to save it, take it with me to the dull tedium that was my life after the divorce. At that time, I mostly listened to cds through other means, the cd player of the SSS long shot. But occasionally, I would listen to something in my room, taking comfort in the familiar songs dubbed onto old memorex tapes.

    Finally, through a story told elsewhere, I escaped and came out west to join my beloved. I remember my brother being upset, I didn't know why at the time until Mom explained he was resentful that I was leaving.

    My car at the time, an old buick regal from 1990, had no working tape player and no cd player at all. I also couldn't afford a trailer or truck for my things, so a car top carrier and my back and passenger seats were packed with all the possessions necessary or important enough to make the journey with me. On the passenger seat, belted in so it wouldn't fall, was that cassette player, keeping me company through the journey. It kept me awake with the few tapes I'd managed to save over the years and a new acquisition I made at some Arkansas gas station that still sold tapes in 2006. It kept silence from consuming me on a three day solo journey.

    I still have the cassette player and it sits in the bathroom. The cord eventually fell off, the tape old and no longer holding, but the batteries have lasting an incredibly length of time and I listen to music every time I shower. I now have better ways to record, better ways to listen to music, and my brother and I are good friends who have now helped one another through some very tough times. But that cassette player has been there through it all and will continue to be so. And who knows. Maybe one day I'll find some blank memorex tapes in a second hand store someday and record all new things on my old cassette player.
  7. I have this pillow. It's at least my most notable old possession. I remember not having it, at age three or four. It was always in the house, a set of two of these ugly, light pink throw pillows with little white embroidery flowers. One round one and a square one. So one day as a toddler I slept with the square one...and that was that. Every night for two decades. The pillow itself is brown, torn, and truly hideous. It's the only pillow just flat enough to support my neck with no pain. I have always hated fluffy pillows. Before this pillow I voluntarily slept without them as a kid. It's gone through several pillowcases -- a red satin one embroidered with goldfish that my mom brought me back from China when I was seven or eight. When that was nothing but a few threads, I replaced it with a silk and satin hand painted pillow case from India when I was maybe thirteen. When that was nothing but threads, the pillow remained caseless until it was falling apart so badly that I had to put a case on to preserve it. I bought an impala fur case this summer -- the hindquarter fur on one side and impala leather on the other. It was a bit big, and can't stand constant wear. I found a hand-made quilted case in New Orleans in December with clouded leopards on it. It's sturdy and fits well. I put the impala case on another larger throw pillow that was badly ripped, and it looks nice and keeps that pillow together. Anyways...yeah. My ugly pillow is my most important old relic, I sleep with it every night. I know that's pretty lame.