Ask the grumpies: longest owned item

Debbie M. asks

What one thing have you owned the longest? How have you maintained it?

Hm, I have some of my mom’s books (children’s classics) back from when she was a child.  They maintain pretty well in bookcases or boxed up.  I also have a couple of child-sized wooden rocking chairs.  DH refinished one of them when DC1 accidentally left some water on the seat of one of them.  Embarrassingly I have some white socks from middle school PE.  I know they’re from middle school because they have my name across the toes.  I maintain them by never exercising.

#2 says:

Something I have owned the longest would probably be things I have had since I was a baby, like a blanket and a teddy bear.  These things aren’t “maintained” as such, and they are well-loved.  Somewhere is a picture that my mom’s friend made for me upon the occasion of my birth.  I also have things that belonged to ancestors (such as my great-grandmother’s costume jewelry from 1900s), but I didn’t get these things until I was older.

What about rest of you grumpeteers? 

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22 Responses to “Ask the grumpies: longest owned item”

  1. plantingourpennies Says:

    I have two of my favorite childhood books (The Adventures of Peter Rabbit and If You Give A Mouse A Cookie) on a bookshelf in the closet, care minimal. I also have my pink “baby’s first christmas” ornament that would have been purchased pretty darned close to my birth, so that might technically be the closest item to my age. It is wrapped and stored in the attic with other ornaments most of the year.
    I have the very first item of clothing I bought solely with my own earnings (a khaki skirt purchased in 8th grade). Since I’ve grown 4″ since then it’s a little short, so it’s mostly kept nice since I don’t wear it terribly often (every month or two).
    Like #2, Mr PoP and I each have a silver teapot that came through our respective families, but we weren’t given these until the last few years.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I’m impressed about the skirt!

      I would never know what to do with even one silver teapot, myself. Seems like a bear to wash.

      • plantingourpennies Says:

        Don’t be too impressed with the skirt, from age 11-19 I generally wore clothes at least 1-2 sizes too big for me. What’s slightly depressing about it is that it’s proof of how much “standard” clothes sizes have changed since 1997. What was a size n is now more like an n-4 or sometimes n-6 in regular women’s sizes.

  2. Chelsea Says:

    I have a stuffed dog (named Brown Doggie, very creative) that was my lovey as a child. He got a lot of wear and tear when I was a child but now he lives in my dresser drawer and only comes out for emergency hugs (yes, really).

  3. Cloud Says:

    Hmmm- probably the board book I had as a baby.

    The longest owned thing that I actually bought myself is probably my illustrated copy of either Anne of Green Gables or Pride and Prejudice- I’m not sure which I bought first.

  4. delagar Says:

    I still have my favorite doll from when I was little. Jimmy. I kept him so I could give him to my own daughter, if I had one, but ha, she fooled me. She hated dolls from the start. So Jimmy lives in my closet on the shelf.

    I also have one of my grandmother’s wooden folding desk chairs, made at the factory where she worked all her life. It’s a impressively sturdy item. I don’t really maintain it, except to forbid my child from standing on it or using it to play fort when she was little.

  5. Debbie M Says:

    I did not recognize that question when I saw this title!

    Like y’all, my oldest things are things from childhood that do not get used. I have a picture I embroidered that got framed behind glass. (The pillowcase I embroidered around the same time has long since shredded.)

    I have a, um, wall hanging I made by cutting out part of a greeting card and glueing it to a peanut butter lid.

    I have my Girl Scout vest which has some pretty old badges and patches on it. I used to have a patch jacket that I sewed my patches to, but it eventually wore out, so I sewed them onto another jacket, but that wore out, too. Finally, I put as many as would fit on the back of that vest (in preparation for a Halloween costume) and the rest are in a box. I keep the vest hanging in my in-season closet so I can see it a lot.

    I don’t think I have anything from before school or even the first few years of school. Oh, except a few certificates and vaccination records (which are stored in an envelope) and a couple of school pictures (in a photo album).

    The things I’ve owned the longest that are actually in use might be the set of pans my mom gave me for high school graduation. They are copper-bottom stainless steel Revereware, which seemed like luxury items after all the aluminum pans I’d used camping. Actually, they are still luxury items to me, in spite of now knowing about Calphalon and that other fancy brand (they are heavy and have rivets that are horrible to clean around). I did leave things boiling too long and burnt a thin layer of copper off the bottoms a couple of times, but they are still in good shape.

    Oh, I still have a few books from when I was a kid (on bookshelves). And my coin collection (each coin is in those little windowed folders that slide into plastic pockets that go in a loose-leaf notebook).

    My oldest heirloom is probably the stereo cabinet my parents built when they were first married (1962). One shelf is the perfect size for a reel-to-reel tape player and a turn table. The one above it is perfect for a receiver. Underneath, behind the doors are shelves perfect for holding records. For some reason, my parents didn’t want it anymore after they got a much smaller music system with its own cabinet; I got it for my office. I keep notebooks and dictionaries on the first shelf, shoe boxes of stuff and little books on the other shelf, and office and craft supplies behind the doors.

  6. First Gen American Says:

    I don’t have anything, but my husband inherited his great grandparent’s victorian furniture. We have lots of old furniture and we sit on and use all of it. He remembers no one ever being allowed to sit on the “nice” furniture as a kid. If you’re going to have stuff, you might as well use it. We had the couches reupholstered once we finally had the money to do it right (it would have been cheaper to just buy new couches), but we did sit on ripped cushions for close to 10 years.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      My sister got (and reupholstered and fixed) my dad’s ancient Eames chair and ottoman. Not quite Victorian furniture, but worth replacing the cracked leather on and getting bigger screws.

  7. Linda Says:

    I have lots of little items passed on to me by my mother and grandmother.
    * An antique pewter nail buffer that belonged to my great-grandmother.
    * A box of postcards collected by my great-grandmother.
    * A tiny, jointed teddy-bear that was owned by my mother.
    * Christmas ornaments used by my grandmother
    * A pair of military issued binoculars carried by my great uncle during WWII
    * Ration books and ration tokens used by my grandmother and mother in WWII
    * Photos of my mother’s side of the family going back to my great-grandmother (who sadly died from complications of childbirth like so many others in her time)

    All of these items are kept in boxes, for the most part. I rarely take them out for any reason. I should use that nail buffer, though. At one time I did use it frequently and the buffing surface (which I was told was deer hide) softened up nicely.

  8. chacha1 Says:

    In the category of thing-I-bought-that-I-still-have, the answer is “book.” The first books I can remember buying with my own allowance money … a boxed paperback set of the Chronicles of Narnia illustrated by Pauline Baynes. Still have ‘em, and that was age 10 I believe, so 38 years.

    In the category of oldest-thing-I-have-that’s-from-family, the answer is jewelry. :-) I have a couple of children’s books that belonged to my Mom & Dad that are early 1940s, but the oldest thing would be my paternal grandmother’s modest wedding ring from circa 1936.

    In the category of oldest-damn-thing-regardless-of-origin, the answer I think is furniture/woodwork. We have a number of “vintage” things, but a couple that I believe are genuinely antique and are probably early 1900s.

  9. Rosa Says:

    I have a childsized rocker that was my mom’s as a toddler, and then mine, and now my son’s – my grandfather made it. I am kind of wondering what to do with it now that son is too big for it, it kind of takes up space. Some books (a very few! Most were terrible & racist) from when my dad & aunts were little kids in the ’50s, and a Bobbsey Twins book that I think is from the ’20s. Oh and the bookshelf my dad made for me when I was little, 30+ years ago, and a baby quilt from when I was a baby, which we do use on the couch kind of a lot.

    All of this is stuff my mom saved and unloaded on me when I had my baby. I have gotten rid of most of what she saved because there won’t be more babies and she didn’t want it back!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Can you hang the rocker from the ceiling somehow, in an artsy way? That could potentially look cool.

      • Rosa Says:

        I don’t think so. I did just help my kid clean his room & get told to take my Raggedy Ann doll (made by my aunt, lifesized with me when I was 3 or 4) out of his room because it’s a baby toy. So maybe the doll & the chair are going to have to take up a corner somewhere together.

    • Cloud Says:

      We also have a child sized rocker that was my dad’s, and then mine, and is now my kids’! Not sure what we’ll do with it when they outgrow. We also have a toy box that was similarly handed down.

  10. eemusings Says:

    Mine is probably a doll that I’ve had since I was 8. I had the exact same one since much younger as a child but the night we got on the plane to leave KL for Auckland, my grandma took it away from me and replaced it with a newer version (the old one was well loved/worn and a little dirty I admit, but still!)


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