Annie Vihtelic

Favorite items explained only by love

By - Jul 24th, 2010 04:00 am
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Not me, but my blankie was just as ragged. (photo by ValentinaPowers via Flickr)

The first material thing I ever grew attached to was my blankie, which I slept with until my teens – my exact age is not relevant … neither is it your business. The only reason I parted with my
beloved blankie was because after thousands of washes and so many years of hard love, it had taken the shape of a dingy, frayed knot, and my mom convinced me that sleeping with it was just kind of gross. I had loved it to death.

I didn’t know the exact origins of my blankie, just that it was given to me at birth by my Grandma. I assumed it had been knit out of love for me – the girl who would be her only granddaughter. But my feelings for my beloved blankie didn’t change even when my mom told me that it was purchased at a neighbor’s yard sale in Grandma’s California suburb for twenty cents.

What is it about certain things that we emotionally connect with? There are luxury items that we covet, like designer labels and fine jewelry or leather, but what about the small things where the value is minute, apparent only to the eyes of the beholder? It seems my tightest bonds with material things were formed at young age. Not because of a label or inflated price tag, but because I loved it.

When I was in first grade, my favorite material thing was an accessory. I had this obnoxious  headband that was threaded in a black and gold checkerboard pattern, and attached to the band was a giant satin bow. I wore that headband every single day at school, in church, on my bike – everywhere – until it snapped from too much wear.

I was devastated. My dad saw my sadness and he tried his best to repair my favorite thing by gluing a skinny plastic headband to the inside of my fancy one. He knew how much that headband meant to me, and I appreciated his effort, but once it broke it wasn’t the same. I could still wear it, but now it was uncomfortable and it stuck out funny on my head.

My mom tried to cheer me up one day after school. I came home to a brand-new headband sitting neatly on my bed. She’d bought an exact replica, the only difference was instead of the gold color, it was silver. The substitute worked for a little while, but it didn’t have the same pizazz that the gold one did. At least I didn’t think so. I wore it for a couple days, but I knew it’d never replace that gold one.

Now I’m in my thirties and I still have connections with certain things I own. There’s my shark-tooth necklace that was given to me by two very good friends – I think it’s about the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Even though I love it, I don’t wear it all that often. Just knowing that I have it seems good enough. Maybe my previous experiences have made me a little more cautious, because it does seem that the things I favor the most get the least wear – like I want to keep them safe.

Oh track pants, how I love thee.

Then there’s my pair of very old, black and red Adidas track pants that still top my list of favorite things. I’ve probably had them around the ten-year mark and have worn them to the point where they should not have any place in my closet, but after that much time I feel they’ve earned their spot. I can’t even remember where I bought them.

If you want to know what it is about these things and why I like them so much, I’m not sure. I just like them. Really, what more reason do I need? They’re not the prettiest or most flattering pieces I own. They’re just very “me,” and I think it’s cool that even at a young age we’re attracted to things that shape our identities. I still have a lot of childlike qualities in every aspect of my life – including fashion.

I know somewhere in my parents’ house, there’s a school photo from the first grade of me wearing my gold headband and one of my favorite tops at the time – a very colorful T-shirt splashed with cute, smiling pandas peeking from behind palm trees. You could totally tell my mom let me dress myself that day, and I thought I looked good. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to find that picture again, but I hope I do. Even though it was taken a long time ago, it reminds me that I still have a lot of that little Annie in me.

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