Why I’ll Always Love Clotheslines

An object is often worth more than its material form. It can bring with it cultural echoes, family history, and personal memory. In The Things We Treasure, writers, creatives, and design experts tell us about their most priceless possessions—real, imag…

An object is often worth more than its material form. It can bring with it cultural echoes, family history, and personal memory. In The Things We Treasure, writers, creatives, and design experts tell us about their most priceless possessions—real, imagined, lost, and found—and the irreplaceable stories behind them.


My Brilliant Friend, the first in a quartet of novels by Elena Ferrante, is set in 1950s Naples. Against the backdrop of a neighborhood still reeling from the war, Ferrante paints colorful scenes of ongoing feuds between the local women.

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11 Design Experts on the Power of Art—& Seeing Ourselves in It

An object is often worth more than its material form. It can bring with it cultural echoes, family history, and personal memory. In The Things We Treasure, writers, creatives, and design experts tell us about their most priceless possessions—and the ir…

An object is often worth more than its material form. It can bring with it cultural echoes, family history, and personal memory. In The Things We Treasure, writers, creatives, and design experts tell us about their most priceless possessions—and the irreplaceable stories behind them.


Interior stylist Olaniyi Swarn’s family tree has put down roots in her Chicago-area living room. At least that’s the impression one gets from the collection of old family photos that sit atop the bed of river rock on her coffee table. This “bowl of stories,” as she calls it, always grabs visitors’ attention and is often a conversation starter.

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A Little Blue Alarm Clock That Turns Back Time

An object is often worth more than its material form. It can bring with it cultural echoes, family history, and personal memory. In The Things We Treasure, writers tell us about their most priceless possessions—and the irreplaceable stories behind them…

An object is often worth more than its material form. It can bring with it cultural echoes, family history, and personal memory. In The Things We Treasure, writers tell us about their most priceless possessions—and the irreplaceable stories behind them.


It was one of those orange-skied evenings, two years ago now, that Berlin does exceptionally well. I was heading into the city to run errands before a month-long trip to India to see my family. I hadn’t slept very well the previous night, so I sat motionless as my husband drove our car, lost in my thoughts—until my phone buzzed on my lap, jolting me out of my reverie. I’d received an email.

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The Rustic Kitchen Tool That Connects Me to My Mother’s Cooking

An object is often worth more than its material form. It can bring with it cultural echoes, family history, and personal memory. In The Things We Treasure, writers tell us about their most priceless possessions—and the irreplaceable stories behind them…

An object is often worth more than its material form. It can bring with it cultural echoes, family history, and personal memory. In The Things We Treasure, writers tell us about their most priceless possessions—and the irreplaceable stories behind them.


My mother’s mortar and pestle is a black granite beauty, its nooks and crannies smoothed out from years of service. She bought it 53 years ago, as a newlywed setting up her first kitchen in Mumbai, and has used it every day since—sometimes, twice a day. I tease her, saying she is one in a country of a billion who has stayed faithful to it; everyone else we know uses a three-jar Vitamix-esque grinder to churn out the pulps, pastes, and powders so central to Indian cooking.

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Why I’ve Spent 15 Years Stocking Up These French Kitchen Towels

An object is often worth more than its material form. It can bring with it cultural echoes, family history, and personal memory. In The Things We Treasure, writers tell us about their most priceless possessions—and the irreplaceable stories behind them…

An object is often worth more than its material form. It can bring with it cultural echoes, family history, and personal memory. In The Things We Treasure, writers tell us about their most priceless possessions—and the irreplaceable stories behind them.


I carry my kitchen towels wherever I go. Well, at least one or two of them. Certainly to any place where I know I’m going to be cooking, but also to picnics, long car trips, even on planes—it’s amazing how handy they are when you have to eat on the fly. And when I was commuting to an office, there was always one tucked into my lunchbox.

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How 12 Mismatched Silver Spoons Taught Me the Meaning of Home

An object is often worth more than its material form. It can bring with it cultural echoes, family history, and personal memory. In The Things We Treasure, writers tell us about their most priceless possessions—and the irreplaceable stories behind them…

An object is often worth more than its material form. It can bring with it cultural echoes, family history, and personal memory. In The Things We Treasure, writers tell us about their most priceless possessions—and the irreplaceable stories behind them.


James J. “Jack” Barnes was just Papa to me. To everyone else, he was a legend. When he walked into a room—his barrel-chested physique barely contained by his suspenders—people would all but line up to talk to him. Bigger than life was an understatement.

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This Fractured Miniature Is My Favorite Reminder of My Uncle’s Life

An object is often worth more than its material form. It can bring with it cultural echoes, family history, and personal memory. In The Things We Treasure, writers tell us about their most priceless possessions—and the irreplaceable stories behind them…

An object is often worth more than its material form. It can bring with it cultural echoes, family history, and personal memory. In The Things We Treasure, writers tell us about their most priceless possessions—and the irreplaceable stories behind them.


“I’m telling Dad on you,” my younger brother said, backing away from me. His elbow brushed against the bamboo reeds that lined the pond’s rim.

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I’ve Moved 7 Times, but I’ve Never Left Behind These Chicken Chairs

An object is often worth more than its material form. It can bring with it cultural echoes, family history, and personal memory. In The Things We Treasure, writers tell us about their most priceless possessions—and the irreplaceable stories behind them…

An object is often worth more than its material form. It can bring with it cultural echoes, family history, and personal memory. In The Things We Treasure, writers tell us about their most priceless possessions—and the irreplaceable stories behind them.


Seven years ago, on the curb in front of a furniture store in East Harlem, I stood next to a couple of upholstered dining chairs I had just bought for my new apartment. They were patterned with rainbow-colored chickens and didn’t really go with anything in my apartment at the time—which meant, of course, that I had to have them.

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