Pennies, Band Aids & Safety Pins: The Objects We Keep Hidden
What do we keep in our drawers?
Most drawers in our home serve a function.
The drawer of kitchen utensils.
The sock drawer.
Even the drawer of candles and matches serves its purpose of being the go-to-drawer in case the lights go out.
This installation is about all the other drawers.
The drawers which on the surface do not seem very functional, but the moment they are examined in an anthropological light, the drawers tend to be a true insight into our lives.
Most of us hold on to moments in our childhood.
The day you left for that great family vacation at 5 am. Everyone was so grouchy in the car, but by lunchtime, the holiday was in full throttle, even your parents were excited.
Or what about when you were newly married? Your first child? Do you keep some of these mementos in your drawer?
Now try to remember what your parents kept in their dressers.
My inspiration for this project is twofold.
The name Pennies, Band Aids and Safety Pins is inspired by every drawer in my mother’s bedroom. She had each of these items in every single drawer, along with some variations including but certainly not limited to grocery receipts, pens, pencils, hair clips, combs and for some weird hypochondriatic reason, anti-biotic cream. She must have had ten tubes of this stuff.
The meat of the project comes from a single moment in time when I looked in my sister’s drawer. She had passed away the year before and my brother in-law asked if I would care to look in her drawer for any items I would like to keep.
A record of her life was in that dresser drawer.
A microcosm of my older sister Sue.
All of her ID’s: her college days, her first job as a chemist for the Health Department, and all of her postal worker ID’s.
Jewelry she held onto. Whether it was for memory sake or guilt, maybe both, the items were there. Class ring, fish necklace, earrings our parents gave her in the 70’s, that clever imitation Rolex.
I remained calm until I got to the teeth. She had in tiny Tupperware containers, her
children’s teeth. Who else would keep your baby teeth besides your mom?