My object of history is a trinket from my mother’s home country, Trinidad and Tobago. It’s a small ceramic jar that belonged to her grandmother. She would take the item with her when she immigrated to the United States in 1973, at the age of seven, along with her sister. My mother and aunt awaited their new life in the United States. But, the small jar would come along as a memento of their old life, storing their memories of their grandmother.
In time, the jar came to contain newer memories. In 1996 I was born. In 1999, the US began circulating commemorative quarters with varying reverse sides. These reverse sides featured unique images, one for each American state and territory. My mother had already collected many unique coins throughout her life. Opening the jar now reveals American quarters, Swiss francs, Jamaican dollars, British pence, and Aruban florins among other coinage.
More than being an interesting hobby, these coins and the jar that holds them represent a different age to me. The jar used to belong in my great-grandmother’s curio cabinet and has since been filled with coins from different points of the late 1900s. Now it’s come to rest in my own mother’s cabinet, so I’ll always be connected to that older generation. My mother always said that the jar reminds her of her grandmother. While I can’t have any such memories of that person, I can appreciate them through the jar and its significance for my mother.
– Amir Stewart