None of these objects have any monetary value. But they're priceless to me. Also: Viva la Sharing Week!
  1. 1.
    This mechanical pencil. I got it sometime in my junior year of high school. I thought it was so high tech and you advanced the lead by pushing a button on its side. I wrote a novel and a billion poems and stories and letters to girls with it. After it finally stopped working, I mounted it on this plaque. Rest in peace, pencil.
  2. 2.
    A handmade copy of a novel I wrote in high school. I can't tell you how many hours I spent in PageMaker and at the copy store hand-assembling this when I was 18. Way too many. But I glued it with care and it is a one-of-a-kind. It's about The Meaning of Life...a big topic for a pimply kid. But it made me feel important and special to finish it.
  3. 3.
    My Superman hat. I got it as a gift from my gramma when I was maybe 8? And I wore it for a bit and then chucked it in my closet. Later, in junior high, I found it again and started wearing it. Sort of dorky, I guess, but I'll bet everyone from JH and HS remember me as "the guy in the Superman hat." It is not wearable now. Too old and broken.
  4. 4.
    This crystal/pewter castle. It was New Year's Eve. Jenny B invited me over to her house for dinner and a movie and pretend champagne. Her parents went to bed while we waited til midnight downstairs. We'd both dressed up. Around midnight, we exchanged presents and this is what she gave me. The next week, she started dating my best friend.
    But I'll always have the memory of that one romantic night with someone I liked but who got away.
  5. 5.
    This hunk of Baraboo Quartzite. Doesn't look like much in the photo, but it is purple and sparkly. I collected it near Devil's Lake State Park in Baraboo, WI on one of the last trips I took there to camp and fish with two of my oldest friends. It was a wonderful adventure and one of those golden memories of my careless/care-free youth.
  6. 6.
    This Holy Grail. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade had just come out when I had a pottery class in high school. So for my coil pot project, I made my own Holy Grail. Glazed it and fired it with care. And as soon as it came out of the kiln, I took it to the slip sink and filled it with water. "To eternal life," I said, and drank to my eternity.
  7. 7.
    This photo of J. D. Salinger's mailbox. I always loved this photo from an exposé on Salinger in LIFE magazine in the 1960s. And when I edited a book called Letters to J. D. Salinger in 2002, it turned out to be the perfect cover. Whoops, Timepix, I was supposed to return this photo to you but I did not. Sorry not sorry.
  8. 8.
    This note from my daughter. She gave it to me on Valentine's Day years ago. And then when I was getting divorced and packing my things I found it again. And ever since then, I've had it tucked in my computer bag and I take it everywhere when I travel. For luck? To keep a little of my kid with me at all times? I dunno. But I'm glad it's in there.
  9. 9.
    This book I got for a quarter at a flea market. It's a book of 1-2 page ghost stories. All of them read like Twilight Zone episodes. It's a dumb book, but it was the first one I ever bought, and now I have 1000s of books. It reminds me of the decades I've spent building my library and of my love of reading. Check out that creepy eye on the cover!
  10. 10.
    My grampa's WWII medals. My dad gave me these a few years ago. I'm not sure what to do with them, actually, but they are the only thing I have from my grampa. I looked up some of them online once. They are for honor and marksmanship and for being in certain theaters of battle. Maybe one day I should frame them in a shadow box and hang them up?
  11. 11.
    This query letter I sent to a vanity publisher when I was a kid. Ha,I really wanted to publish books, even at a very young age. I still have this bug. I am impressed at how professional I was, even though the book idea I had was a rip-off of some other kid's who made the news with his own quiz book. Also: my brother had saved this for years for me.
  12. 12.
    Check out the P. S. "We will adjust." WTF. And the fact that even at 10 I had my own return address labels.