Last night I watched To Kill A Mocking Bird for the upteenth time, and like so many classic films, it is comfort to me in every sense of the word. As with most classic movies, each time I watch this one I’m struck by something different.
This time it was the opening credits, which show images of Scout’s collection of ‘treasures’ in a cigar box. It is the physical manifestation of what I so often say: “If you want to know someone, ask them to see their stuff.” Children do this all the time when they take a friend or relative by the hand and show off their rooms, their toys and their treasure boxes. I certainly did this as a child, and I continue to do it as an adult.
Since To Kill A Mockingbird is a story told through the eyes of a child, it’s fitting we the audience get to know Scout right away from that box of treasures. A few hand-carved figures, a key, some marbles, and a pocket watch are among the items we see.
Of course for those of us who love the movie, we know that Scout’s father’s pocket watch is a prized possession. I saw an interview with Mary Badham, the actress who played Scout, and she said that when filming was complete, Gregory Peck, who played her father Atticus, gave her that pocket watch as a memento. She kept it always.
As it turns out, Harper Lee, who wrote the novel which the movie is based upon, gave Gregory Peck her father’s watch as a memento as she was so happy with his portrayal of the character (based on her own father).
The objects that we hold dear are meant to be shared. Displaying them in our homes and sharing them with others are what it’s all about. I have so many things in my home that belonged to my grandmother, and they not only remind me of her, but often remind me of a story that I share about her. In this way, we all live on.
So many of the objects I find at flea markets are ones that hit a sentimental chord. I buy things that speak to me, and often it’s because they remind me of my own childhood and of the memories these items spark. I think this is quite common for those of us who love antiques and vintage pieces. If we didn’t inherit something from a relative, we are often lucky enough to acquire similar items that bring back great memories.
When shopping for myself and for clients I’m drawn to items that look like they have a history. These objects add soul to our homes and offer up more opportunities to connect by sharing our stuff.