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Original Essays | September 18, 2014

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On a hot July evening years ago, my Toyota Tercel overheated on a flat stretch of highway north of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A steam geyser shot up from... Continue »
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Objects of Our Affection: Uncovering My Family's Past, One Chair, Pistol, and Pickle Fork at a Time

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Objects of Our Affection: Uncovering My Family's Past, One Chair, Pistol, and Pickle Fork at a Time Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

After their mother’s death, Lisa Tracy and her sister, Jeanne, are left to contend with several households’ worth of furniture and memorabilia, much of it accumulated during their family’s many decades of military service in far-flung outposts from the American frontier to the World War Two–era Pacific. In this engaging and deeply moving book, Tracy chronicles the wondrous interior life of those possessions and discovers that the roots of our passion for acquisition often lie not in shallow materialism but in our desire to possess the most treasured commodity of all: a connection to the past.

What starts as an exercise in information gathering designed to boost the estate’s resale value at auction evolves into a quest that takes Lisa Tracy from her New Jersey home to the Philippines and, ultimately, back to the town where she grew up. These travels open her eyes to a rich family history characterized by duty, hardship, honor, and devotion—qualities embodied in the very items she intends to sell. Here is an inventory unlike any other: silver gewgaws, dueling pistols that once belonged to Aaron Burr (no, not those pistols), a stately storage chest from Boxer Rebellion–era China, providentially recovered family documents, even a chair in which George Washington may or may not have sat—each piece cherished and passed down to Lisa’s generation as an emblem of who her forebears were, what they had done, and where they had been. Each is cataloged here with all the richness and intimacy that only a family member could bring to the endeavor.

“Even as we know we should be winnowing, we’re wallowing,” observes Lisa Tracy in one of her characteristically trenchant observations about America’s abiding obsession with “stuff.” A paean to the pack rat in us all, Objects of Our Affection offers an offbeat and intriguing mix of cultural anthropology, Antiques Roadshow Americana, and military history and lore, as well as a thoughtful meditation on the emotional resonance of objects—what they mean and the oh-so-fascinating stories they tell.

 

Synopsis:

Tracy delves into the history of the furniture, china, jewelry, and other memorabilia inherited from five generations of her family, only to discover that these items bring her face-to-face with the people who had collected them. b&w photos throughout.

About the Author

Lisa Tracy is an author and journalist and the former Home & Design editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer. She lives in Lexington, Virginia, where she currently teaches creative nonfiction.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780553807264
Subtitle:
Uncovering My Family's Past, One Chair, Pistol, and Pickle Fork at a Time
Author:
Tracy, Lisa
Photographer:
Hillhouse, Ginny
Publisher:
Bantam
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Furniture
Subject:
Family Relationships
Subject:
United States History, Military.
Subject:
Families of military personnel
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20100323
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
25 BandW PHOTOS THRU/OUT
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.40x5.76x.89 in. .87 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Hobbies, Crafts, and Leisure » Antiques » General
Hobbies, Crafts, and Leisure » Crafts » Antiques General

Objects of Our Affection: Uncovering My Family's Past, One Chair, Pistol, and Pickle Fork at a Time Used Hardcover
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Product details 256 pages Bantam Books - English 9780553807264 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Tracy delves into the history of the furniture, china, jewelry, and other memorabilia inherited from five generations of her family, only to discover that these items bring her face-to-face with the people who had collected them. b&w photos throughout.
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