Clothes and toys, recipes and jokes, advice and prejudice: we all have to handle all sorts of hand-me-downs every day. Tell us about some of the meaningful hand-me-downs in your life.

Hand-me-downs are precious to me. There’s nothing more valuable than something with personal meaning behind it. Seriously. If my parents gave me an old broken pen that’s been handed down generation after generation (or I suppose it would be a quill at that point), it would have more value to me than a brand new leather jacket, and that’s saying something because I really want a nice leather jacket. 

One hand-me-down I particularly treasure is a pencil case my mother gave me. It was a tiny one that only fit a few pencils and pens, but it was rugged and Korean-looking, and I loved that the most. She gave it to me when I was in middle school, telling me that she had used it when she was my age. I’ll admit that I became rather upset when the zipper broke, but I guess that’s why most parents give little kids more durable things. That pencil case served as a reminder that my mother had actually been my age at one point, which even now is a strange concept to grasp. Even though it’s broken, it’s still somewhere in the house, because I can’t bring myself to throw away something that reminds me that my mother is not just Mom but also a little girl who used to take that pencil case to school with her every day. (Also, I’m a bit of a hoarder, a trait she also gave me.)

My dad didn’t exactly hand anything down to me, because he gave me something I can never grasp (physically or mentally): the family history. You know how when you were a kid, you thought your parents knew everything? I still think that, though especially about my dad, because he really does know everything about everything, except for maybe advanced physics. He can memorize names and dates like nobody’s business, so when it comes time to discuss the family history, none of my uncles or aunts can hold a candle to what my dad’s got up his sleeve. For my history class about the American South, he told me everything there was to know about my great-great-grandfather who fought in the Civil War (yes, that is only two greats; don’t question it), so now I have something I can actually talk to my professor about. But beyond that, he’s given me something more than just facts; he’s given me pride. I come from a line of hard-workers and respected people, and because of my dad I know at least half of their stories.

Do I love my parents dearly? Yes. Is this post all sappy because I miss them after a week of being back in school? Only possibly.


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