Don’t Pass Up This Keepsake.

Keepsake by Marilyn Koop is a must-have for your library.  A friend  gave me a copy the other day and I’ve been totally captivated by it. Each page contains a photograph of time-worn hands cradling a loved keepsake. On the page opposite is a cameo history of the person, a brief story behind the keepsake, and words of advice. There are twenty portraits in the collection. All save two were of people living at the Wellington Terrace, an assisted care residence near Fergus, Ontario.

"This little cup and saucer was given to me by my great-grandmother on my second birthday when we were still in England. My mother used to threaten me: "What might happen to your little cup and saucer if you don't behave?" Winifred Banbury

Marlene Creates, a Newfoundland environmental artist and poet has written of the book:

When objects are keepsakes, they relate most to our hands and our sense of touch. In Marilyn Koop’s photographs, hands are as eloquent as faces. On first glance, many of the cherished objects being held by these elderly people seem quite modest … But on reading these elders’ stories, it turns out that…[these keepsakes] are important not because of their monetary value but because of their history and meaning. I am struck by the profound  human caring and gratitude in these stories. The keepsakes are stand-ins for lost loved ones and times past. Through Marilyn Koop’s photographs and the brief life stories she has gathered, we are given the real value of these keepsakes.

"Henry carved this bar of soap on our honeymoon night in Niagara Falls." Agnes Koop

As a personal historian, I see a number of ways Keepsake can be of value:

  • a gift for special clients
  • in workshops as an example of creative story telling
  • to awaken care facility administrators to the potential of life story  projects with their own residents
  • a source for  reflection on aging, keepsakes, and remembrance

To Order

Contact Marilyn Koop directly at: koopwood@sympatico.ca

Price: Cdn $24.00 includes postage and handling.

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Images by permission of Marilyn Koop Copyright 2009

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4 Responses to Don’t Pass Up This Keepsake.

  1. Fabulous, Dan! I think these objects become icons – meaningful in themselves but pointing to a much greater meaning. And how wonderful that Marilyn put them together in a beautiful book – another iconic object.

    • What a wonderful book. Thank you, Dan. My heart almost stopped when I saw the first picture – I have a little side plate that used to belong to my partner’s mother in exactly that pattern. I don’t know the story behind Wilma’s plate; what a gift to learn the story of another piece of the same manufacture.

    • @cj madigan. Glad you like the book, cj. I hope Marilyn gets some sales from my post.

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