Physical Memories : Ordinary Objects That Mean The World To Us

Physical Memories : Ordinary Objects That Mean The World To Us

April 21, 2021

As I’m opening my customary care package from my family, I get a blow to the heart as I glimpse something as blue as the sky on a sunny day, overlaid by coffee grains instead of fluffy clouds.

I make my way, between bags of taralli and blocks of parmesan cheese and there it was, a beautiful, familiar memento that brought me back in my white kitchen in the South of Italy.

I can hear my dog’s paws hitting the floor tiles, the sound of people speaking in Italian on the tv. I can see the patch of sunshine coming through the sliding glass door, overlooking blocks of flats with clothes hanging outside the window to dry.

It took less than a minute for me to feel that way, and after that I was in tears, hugging the coffee tin that used to sit on the shelf of my Italian house for as long as I can remember.

It sounds incredibly dramatic, even more so knowing that I had spent probably more than 30 minutes that way (and I’m not going to lie, I have a lump in my throat as I’m remembering this) but for someone who misses home terribly like me, it’s a very normal reaction.

Especially now that Covid has added an extra obstacle between us and our loved ones, everyone is feeling a bit more nostalgic.

Psychologist, Dr Elena Touroni, has talked during a Glamour interview about the reason why memories can evoke happiness.

We turn to nostalgia in order to revisit a time when the world was less complex. It’s a romanticism of a past life that may have felt more safe and carefree.

Dr Elena Touroni


Marialuisa Miraglia, is an Italian student who lives in London. Her chosen object is a little blanket, which in her mother language is called ‘copertina’ and it has a deep meaning to her.

“It really means the world to me because my grandma sewed it when I was born and I’ve been sleeping with this blanket for 24 years, I love it, even if now it’s old. You can see there are some holes in it. But when I hold it, it’s like hugging my grandma. It’s like hugging my grandad. And be a child again.”

Marialuisa Miraglia


Cei Hemingway-Brunt is a 21-year-old student in Stirling, Scotland. Her object is quite general, but that’s for a specific reason.

“My object is a cup of tea. I know is not really a one-time object. I’ve chosen a cup of tea because through high school me and my best friend (…) always held each other accountable on whether we were okay, with a cup of tea. It didn’t matter what kind, it didn’t matter where we were. We always held each other accountable with the question ‘do you want a cup of tea?’ (…) We always sat down, at least once a week and just chat and see if we were okay and I extend that to people I know.

Cei Hemingway-Brunt


Rowen Rennie is 24 years old and just graduated with a masters degree in his home country, Scotland. Now he moved to London and had to be selective with what to bring in this new adventure, but one object was always on the list of things to keep from the very beginning.

My objects are these Russian nesting dolls, ‘matroska’, of Russian leaders. The reasons why this object is so important to me, it’s because my dad used to have a lot of random ornaments and antiques in his house and when I moved out I wanted to take some little things to sort of make it feel more like home. When I moved, wherever I was moving to, this was the first one I took, I think because is so unusual. Every flat that I lived in, since moving out of my parents’ houses, I’ve taken these little dolls and put them up. And it sorts of feels like I’m back at home and it makes it feel nice that I have the same random amount of random ornaments and antiques in my house, even though I live miles away.

Rowen Rennie

For now, my coffee can has not found a place in my kitchen, I keep it on the shelf in my bedroom to look at it whenever I feel sad or overwhelmed. One day I’m going to use it for its purpose, in order to give me an extra boost of energy when I make my morning coffee. But for now, I like to have it close to me at all times, as a beautiful, Italian reminder.

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