Monday, April 18, 2016

In Which Keely Keeps Her Pillow, So There

Every so often, I get on a Walden Pond tear and decided it's time to declutter (why dictionaries don't yet recognize that as a word is something I don't understand). I winnow out my clothes, chase down tchotchkes, renew order to closets. Of course there are sacred cows in my home, things that remain safe from the chopping block year in and year out. Including the subject of today's post. 

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I have a throw pillow so beyond “tired” I hide its original casing under a more respectable cover so it won't freak people out when they visit. 

Respectable Outer Wrappings by J. Keely Thrall

In the weeks before heading off to my first year of college, my stepmother and I were shopping in one of those discount stores that carry STUFF. Cool stuff, useless stuff, wearable stuff, edible-if-you-don’t-care-about-expiration-dates stuff. Potential this-needs-to-come-to-college-with-me stuff. 

We walked past an end cap and there it was. The Pillow. Ugly-cute. So many light-years away from my style, it still amazes me that it landed in our cart. It matched nothing in my burgeoning suite of heading-to-school items. Tacky, I thought. Cringe-worthy, I feared. Eyebrows-raised-what-was-I-thinking-recrimination-worthy, I knew.

But bloody hell, I fell for that pillow, hard. 

Grumpy pillow! Photo by J. Keely Thrall
So hard, I still have it nearly thirty years later. Today, the spun fiber filling is clumpy and unfluffable. The beige background has some suspicious staining. It's missing a lot of its surface stitching. 

But that face. That grumpy-before-Grumpy-Cat-was-cool face. That not-found-in-nature eye color. That This-Deserved-Velvet-attitude of the portrait’s subject.

How, I ask, can I throw that away?

I can’t.

And since it still give me a spark of joy, Marie Kondo (mistress of tidying up) says I don't have to. 


What about you? Are you a tosser or a keeper? Do you have the equivalent of a security piddow whose super powers you hide in Clark Kent style outer garments? Or is that just me?


  1. I have something like this! It was a wedding gift. A metal, snail tealight holder. If I can find a photo to share with you one day I will. So not us. Don't even know who gave it to us. It's weird, it's grandmotherly, it's a dust-able. And somehow, I have grown to love that durn thing!

  2. Too funny, Keely!

    Whether we realize it or not, things are meaningful even in our consumer culture, and there's something sweet about that.

    Years ago, a relative gave me clock that had belonged to her deceased husband--with the caveat I had to use the rather ugly, I mean funky, shelf he built to display it. I confess I don't place the clock on the shelf, however, out of deference to her and respect for him, I've kept his handiwork through at least four moves. One day, I'd love to see that shelf go to someone who'll enjoy it, but over the years, "one day" has never been today!

  3. Love. That. Pillow!

    I've been going through a years-long decluttering cycle (you're so right, when is that word going in the dictionary? Wake up, Webster's!), and I have a number of odds and ends which I just can't bring myself to part with. One of them is a rolling chair that belonged to my dad. It's got this weird green pad which was torn to shreds years before I got the chair (Dad's cats loved the chair too, lol). It's not comfortable to sit in. All it does is sulk in the corner as a landing spot for more junk. But I love it, I've brought it along twice when I've moved house, and I will probably continue to bring it along for years to come.

    Happiness can be hard to find, and I think it's okay to hold on to the things that bring us joy. Whether it's your pillow or my chair, or something else entirely. Hug your pillow tight and enjoy! :-)

    Awesome post.