What's Valuable to You?

I love history. I enjoy reading history. It’s why I take the time to stop and read the inscriptions on monuments. It’s why I read the plaques in historical districts. And it’s why I love to vacation in New England. Most of all, I enjoy “seeing and touching” history. I have an interest in old things made new through restoration: cars, tools, machines, and gadgets. As a budding (amateur) photographer, one of my prized possessions is a 1931 Voigtlander camera built in Germany. Although it’s nearly 80 years old, the camera is still able to take beautiful black and white pictures. A few weeks ago, my kids’ great grandmother gave me another unique gift, a 1922 Remington typewriter, which belonged to her husband. Cloaked in dust and muck for over 40 years, I spent the last few weeks cleaning and restoring the old machine not expecting it to type another letter. I was ecstatic when my son, the great grandson of the original owner, was able to write a few sentences on it.

Today money and prestige is often associated with value. Something of ‘value’ is often regarded as something that’s desired – the degree to which something is useful or is of usefulness. While my old camera and typewriter are no longer useful by today’s standards, they still provide value of another kind – one beyond they’re original purpose. They’ve transcended, at least for me, into things that are beautiful and pleasing. Two examples of paradigms changed. When value is based on the concept of usefulness, we essentially set an expiration date on something, and sometimes someone, without regard to the possibility, aptitude, or promise that can still be found within.