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My Wall of Things: Part 3

Jess Lahey
Jess Lahey
I’m so happy to hear that many of you are enjoying the wall tour! My father and I have been hard at work finding the stories for each thing, so let’s get going on part 3.
Item 41. Yet another Harry Potter wand, at the ready for all the difficult parenting, recovery and adulting questions I receive in my email inbox. The full inventory of the wands is here in item 3.
Item 42. A guinea hen made out of a walnut. My parents bought it for me in Africa and it’s one of my favorite things, mainly because I’ve always wanted guinea hens for their tick-eating prowess. Fortunately, my friend, author Sarah Stewart Taylor has them and waved me off. Alas, they are very loud.
Item 43. A card for my sister’s business, Anna Jones Salon. When Anna went off to hair school, the agreement was that my parents would pay if we never had to pay for haircuts or color again. Thirty years later, it’s been quite a bargain, as she became a Certified Master Colorist with Wella and is an absolute hair genius. I’m so proud of her. She’s one of those people who can connect with anyone and make them feel known, loved, and seen. She’s in the Fayetteville, Arkansas area, so if you are there and need a hairstylist, she’s your gal. Here’s her contact info.
Item 44. From my father. A hanging sheet metal number from the 1940s for displaying baseball scores on a scoreboard, from a junk store in a building that was formerly the oldest meat market in Gloucester, MA. Both the 3 and the enameled “Pull” sign (item 91) were purchased for $5.00.
Item 45. Hand lettered words on paper for teaching spelling at an old school in Corydon, Indiana. My father found a box with about 15 word cards that had been given to my grandfather in the seventies. I keep it to remind me that in order to write, I first have to look, and see. My father is an incredible looker - he taught me to look for deer at the edge of fields in the evening light, to look for telltale signs of buried clams in the low tide sand and hungry fish on the surface of a pond.
Item 46. From my father, a napkin ring with a rabbit on it. Neither of us remember its story.
Item 47. When I was little, my parents best friend was Richard Hunt, one of the original muppeteers on Sesame Street and The Muppets. He died in 1992, and we all miss him very much. There are a couple Richard items on my wall, and this is a patch he gave my father in the seventies. I used to wear mine on the back of a jean jacket in the eighties, but now it lives on my wall.
Item 48. An I ❤️ PBS pin. Because I do!
Item 49. Another item from my father, a fold-up paper egg carton. He bought six unused cartons from a shop in New Hampshire for $4 in 2010, and the shop owners said they found them in a box full of old farm papers.
Item 50. In 1998 when I was in my second year of law school, I had a miscarriage, and a month or so later, knowing I wanted to keep trying for a child, a very good friend gave me this totem. It’s a little watercolor of a baby in a wooden box frame. Shortly after she gave it to me, I got pregnant with my son, Ben, and since then, I have loaned it out to at least five friends who were also trying to get pregnant, and it’s been a lucky charm for all of us.
Item 51. My friend and #AmWriting podcast co-host KJ Dell'Antonia went to the Museo del Prado in Madrid and brought me this really cool pencil/ruler.
Item 52. I was fortunate enough to go to dinner at the French Laundry in Yountville, California with my in-laws about five years ago when I was nearby for a speaking event. We kept our napkin holder clothespins. It was, of course, a divine experience.
Item 53. When The Gift of Failure first came out, I ordered custom pencils with the book title on them to give out to students at speaking events. Apparently, not one bulk pencil company was capable of printing words on a pencil with any kind of reasonable quality control, so I gave up on that idea. I did, however, keep one as a souvenir.
Item 54. My sister Anna sent me this armadillo with a little succulent planted in it as a gift. The succulent died, but the armadillo is forever. I’m a little bit obsessed with armadillos, and we go out on armadillo safaris every time I visit her in Arkansas.
Item 55. This is one of the most precious items I own. This medal is a gift from my niece, Archer Jones. She’s a super talented wrestler and the 2021 Arkansas State Champion in her weight class (she beat out a senior when she was a freshman)! States is coming up again soon and I will be eagerly awaiting every FaceTimed match. Here’s her YouTube channel, complete with all her important matches.
Item 56. A sticker from Philo Ridge Farm, a local farm where I get veggies and the occasional piece of meat, as well as the most delicious baked goods ever. They raise Belted Galloway cattle, hence the cool sticker design.
Item 57. I have no idea where we took these, but apparently at some point early in our relationship, my husband Tim and I sat in a photo booth for pictures.
Item 58. See item 26, tags from my favorite retail store, GoodLinens Studio in Gloucester, MA.
Item 59. Power Girl action figure. I don’t know anything about her, but what I do know is that my friend and law school classmate Kas gave her to me because he says I remind him of Power Girl and that’s the best compliment I’ve ever received. Fun fact: she was featured in the art above one of my New York Times columns, and someone wrote in to object to her flagrant and prominent boobs.
Item 60. I got this gift card at another store I adore, a stationery store in White River Junction, VT called POST. I love love love this store and could spent thousands there.
Unnumbered items near item 60. I knew I’d screw up the numbering somewhere. The three items with no numbers are a key my father gave me, a pin he also gave me, and my grandfather’s pen knife.
Item 61. A Ruth Bader Ginsburg finger puppet!
Item 62. My 24-hour chip from Alcoholics Anonymous, the chip I took in my snotty, sweaty hand when I was finally ready to get well on June 8, 2013. One of the best and worst days of my entire life, and I’m incredibly grateful for the people who helped me get to that meeting in White River Junction, VT that night.
Item 63. A pin from the town of New Albany, Indiana, my parents’ hometown.
Item 64. From my father. A unnamed politician was handing them on near Virgilio’s Bakery in Gloucester, MA. Dad notes the flag only has seven stripes. Not sure what that says about the politician.
Item 65. Another Goodlinens Studio label.
That’s it for today; I have get moving and make soup for my COVID positive, quarantined son. He’s holed up in his apartment near his college and while he’s COVID positive, he’s fully vaccinated and feeling well save for some sniffles. Hallelujah for vaccines!
Cheers from snowy Vermont. Stay safe and warm,
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Jess Lahey
Jess Lahey @jesslahey

I write about all kinds of stuff but if you are into the writing life, the woods of Vermont, life with dogs, or my work in child welfare and substance use prevention, then you are in the right place.

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