The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Canada needs more independent media. And independent media needs you.

Did you know that most news organizations in Canada are owned by just a handful of companies? And that these companies have been shutting down newsrooms and laying off reporters continually over the past few decades?

Fact-based, credible journalism is essential to our democracy. Unlike many other newsrooms across the country, The Tyee’s independent newsroom is stable and growing.

How are we able to do this? The Tyee Builder program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip into our editorial budget so that we can keep doing what we do best: fact-based, in-depth reporting on issues that matter to our readers. No paywall. No junk. Just good journalism.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to be Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
Culture
  |  
Photo Essays

We Asked for Your ‘Objects of Affection.’ We Love What You Shared

In this batch of 10 trusty belongings one’s a hoot, another is big on a peel. First in a series.

Dorothy Woodend 19 Jul 2021 | TheTyee.ca

Dorothy Woodend is culture editor of The Tyee. Reach her here.

Ask and ye shall receive. A few weeks ago, The Tyee asked readers to send us words, images and musings on their most beloved object, inspired by J.B. MacKinnon’s new book The Day the World Stops Shopping. MacKinnon kicked things off in high style with his extremely well used fleece jacket.

The idea was to posit a radical reassessment of our relationship to things, to buy fewer of them, repair them more often and lighten the overall footprint of consumption. But it turns out plenty of folk were already well on their way, caring for items, both practical and whimsical, with gentleness, affection and care.

A bounty of submissions arrived — coats, frying pans, earrings, key chains — each with a story attached. Whether it’s a very old teddy bear or an upright piano, the stuff that we treasure often says more about us than we realize.

For the next few weeks, The Tyee wanted to share these stories, along with the photographs and illustrations of the cherished objects that accompanied them. These are some remarkable relationships. Without further ado, here’s the first instalment of Objects of Affection.

A pal named Snowy

StuffedOwl.jpg

I’m Breeana, this is “Snowy,” my beloved stuffed animal. I got him in the third grade as a gift from St. Nick’s Day (my siblings and I would leave out our boots and St. Nick would come and put a small present in them).

Of all the toys that I’ve had Snowy has stayed with me somehow. My family moved houses a lot when I was younger, and I have five younger siblings, so keeping toys was impossible. But through it all I’ve always had him.

When I taught in Korea for three years, he came with me and when I taught a year in Japan, he came with me. When I was scared about driving in Japan (I had to have a car to get to my remote schools) Snowy was there chilling in the front window. He’s not as white as he once was, his black fur is now more of a grey (kind of like my hair now) and his cute little bandana used to be a vivid Christmas red and green but not so much now. I hope that wherever I travel next, I’ll have him with me. — Breeana Kiter

An unvanquished sweater

851px version of GreenSweater.jpg

Over 50 years, this green sweater has outlasted two marriages, a gazillion camping and kayaking trips, and untold forays into the garden and woods of B.C. and the Yukon. It's 100-per-cent wool, so it's my best layer for warmth in rain and ice. It has been darned multiple times, but it never criticizes the repairs that I make; even when the humans in my life suggest a replacement, I maintain a firm “no.”

This sweater is mostly a paint coverup now, getting grey like its owner but still worn with love most weeks. I'm forever grateful I resisted all requests over the decades to let it go! — Arlene in Langley, B.C.

No cold shoulder for old suits

582px version of 1980sSuit.jpg
Illustration for The Tyee by Dorothy Woodend.

My family was displaced in the Second World War from east of Germany, losing everything. I was half a year old and grew up in poverty which I did not recognize as such because my parents did everything to make it seem normal.

Most of my clothes were handed down or homemade. My first earned money I invested in a lovely suit. My closet is full of garments, some more than 30-years-old. They don’t fit or aren’t fashionable anymore but getting rid of some is just not in my DNA.

If I ever overcome my reluctance to downsize, I'll miss that piece of clothing for sure at one point. I know, it’s crazy, but what can I do. It’s stronger than me. — Karin Hertel

The Irish ‘classic’

582px version of TweedJacket.jpeg

My object of affection is a 25-year-old Irish tweed jacket. Its classic style is still suitable for a walk in the park, the opera or to travel the world. I have recently renewed it with suede at the cuffs and elbows. People stop me all the time and say how much they like my jacket and I say, "You too can own this jacket for only $350 and it will last for decades."

It's no surprise that purchases are the highest score in my global footprint. I hate shopping and only buy when something can't be fixed. — Mayta Rin

A sharp accomplice

851px version of CarrotPeeler.JPG

One of my first kitchen utensils, a peeler. I bought it at the corner store beside my first apartment in 1985. It takes off a micro thin layer of peel, so there’s very little waste, the ultimate carrot peeler for that reason. I have never sharpened it and it has never gone dull, yet I use it all the time. It makes me smile whenever I use it. — Bob Preston

A hot relationship with cookware

582px version of FryingPansIllustration.jpg
Illustration for The Tyee by Dorothy Woodend.

My prized possessions are my cast iron cookware. Some pieces are 40+ years old and still are the best for cooking. They come with me camping and back home to my kitchen. Would not be without them. — Lucy Friesen

Had to have them (and hold them)

851px version of RedShoes.jpg

On the shelf of my favourite shoe store were bright red, slip-on canvas, suede and smooth leather snub-nosed shoes with cut-out holes, elastic lacing and rubber soles. Magic shone out of the holes. They were what Pete the Cat — a thread-thin, navy-blue, impudent, guitar-playing cartoon character — wore. I slipped them on. I had to have them, the Pete the Cat shoes. After eight years, I don’t say, "sneakers," "running shoes," or "tennis shoes," I say, “I’m wearing my Pete the Cat shoes.” In them, I walk thread-thin, navy-blue, impudent through the world. — Karen Lee

A fleece friend

582px version of FleeceJacket.jpg

My O of A is my ancient black (still fairly black) MEC Polartec fleece pullover. I bought it sometime in 1994 to keep me warm while doing winter Dragonboat training. Except for the neck tag, which is frayed and can no longer be read, the garment refuses to wear out and has steadfastly kept me warm during water sports, cycling, hiking, walking and socializing around a fire pit for the last 27 years. We’ve grown old together! — Deb Rooney

A library card that buys the universe

582px version of BookCloudsIllustration.jpg
Illustration by Dorothy Woodend.

I recently downsized and with great pain winnowed my books from 1,000 down to 100. As a lifelong bibliophile, and I immediately thought I would pick a book. Too difficult by far to choose just one. Instead, I choose my FVRL [Fraser Valley Regional Library] card.

An innocuous and humble piece of 3.5-inch by 2-inch white plastic with the FVRL logo and a bar code on the back that bestows upon me the privilege to borrow as many books as I like without the impossible task of continued storage. Two additional positives are it saves me money and reduces my environmental footprint. — Ken Grieve

A literal birthday present

TeddyBear.jpg

This is Teddy. He was given to me on the day of my birth by the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception from St. Vincent's Hospital (the old one that used to be on W. 33rd Ave in Vancouver.). Apart from my excursions overseas, he has been constant company. Every bodily fluid imaginable has been spilled on him. Countless washes and buttons for eyes, several near tragedies with dogs, and a few losses/left behinds. But for 65 years (next month) he has been my ever-faithful companion. — Stuart Mackinnon


Well, that’s the first batch. Stay tuned for next week's instalment of Objects of Affection, including special guest appearances from the one and only Mr. Bill and The Tyee's Chris Cheung.  [Tyee]

Read more: Photo Essays

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free.

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Comments that violate guidelines risk being deleted, and violations may result in a temporary or permanent user ban. Maintain the spirit of good conversation to stay in the discussion.
*Please note The Tyee is not a forum for spreading misinformation about COVID-19, denying its existence or minimizing its risk to public health.

Do:

  • Be thoughtful about how your words may affect the communities you are addressing. Language matters
  • Challenge arguments, not commenters
  • Flag trolls and guideline violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity, learn from differences of opinion
  • Verify facts, debunk rumours, point out logical fallacies
  • Add context and background
  • Note typos and reporting blind spots
  • Stay on topic

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist, homophobic or transphobic language
  • Ridicule, misgender, bully, threaten, name call, troll or wish harm on others
  • Personally attack authors or contributors
  • Spread misinformation or perpetuate conspiracies
  • Libel, defame or publish falsehoods
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities
  • Post links without providing context

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

Are You Concerned about Rising Support for Canada’s Far-Right Parties?

Take this week's poll