Touchstones to the Past

I frequently see posts on Facebook with a picture of an object that was once in everyday use but is now virtually obsolete. One of my favorites was a picture of old style roller skates along with the key used to change the skates’ size. It brought back such vivid memories of my childhood skating in the neighborhood with my best friend.

Objects like the skate key, or the speakers from a drive-in theater, or even an old-fashioned ice box are what I would call touchstones to the past. They invoke memories of times gone by, and entire stories can often be written centered around that one simple object.

Your story might be about your first time at the drive in or making cookies with your grandmother using her flour sifter.

Here is a list of other possible touchstones:

  • crank ice cream maker
  • wooden sled
  • record player
  • eight-track tape player
  • push lawn mower
  • rotary style telephone
  • telephone booth

A stroll through an antique store can often generate lots of memories as you come across toys, furniture, books, etc. that you remember from your past.

These objects are often mysterious to new generations. Your stories can make them less mysterious and place them in the hands of your ancestors being used as they were in the past. I remember my own children asking me to explain how you dial a rotary telephone. It still seemed second nature to me, but was so foreign to them. Imagine how foreign it will seem to future generations.

2 thoughts on “Touchstones to the Past

    • Good for you. I actually have a friend who did roller derby for awhile. I’m afraid I never got that good at skating. I fell and broke my wrist early on and that discouraged me.

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