I often tell people visiting my home, “Everything in this house has a personal memory or came into our possession due to a loved one. Nothing is just stuff.” From the framed handmade lace fan and beaded slippers worn by a Harem Girl on our powder room walls, to table objects in various rooms, each item holds the gist of a story. To me, mementos are touchstones. They are the tangible things that bind my Dearest and me to a particular time and experience, like the China dog that was a wedding gift from British friends. We had such a great wedding 30 years ago, and our marriage is even better. The items can be large, small, inexpensive, or quite valuable. What starts as a single object purchased on a trip has been known to, over the years, turn into a collection, such as the hand-painted Italian serving platters now adorning our back hallway that are both decorative and functional, frequently used at large gatherings.

I spend a good deal of time in other people’s homes. I go on listing appointments in which, most often, I am touring a home for the first time. I am always seeking the best possible property for my clients who wish to purchase a home in Bozeman. To this end, I preview other agents’ listings if I have not yet seen the home to determine if the property fits my client’s needs. And, my Dearest and I are fortunate to be invited for dinners and gathering at various homes throughout the Gallatin Valley.

Entering a home for the first time, I immediately note the architecture and the way the home is sited for view shed, privacy, and natural light. The style of the home and furnishings, along with wall colors, flooring, and overall décor make a big impact, and usually reflect a good deal about the owner’s aesthetics and values. However, it is always the mementos and small keepsakes that capture my eye, and cause me to wonder what tale they evoke, what love and excitement they store.

Every person has a story. Each life is rich with experience, and hopefully love. Our souvenirs and keepsakes are a tangible way of connecting ourselves back in time and evoking happiness. It is important to showcase these things, to remember to switch things around, don’t just plop something in a table arrangement and then forget about it for years. Regroup, do your Spring cleaning with the idea of freshening up your memories by moving them to new settings. It’s easy to do, and as you hold the objects, maybe, just maybe, you’ll find yourself entwined in a long ago happening that brings you joy.