LOST OBJECTS (40)

By: Kathryn Davis
November 14, 2019

One in an ongoing series of nonfiction stories about lost objects. In 2017, Project:Object’s Josh Glenn and Rob Walker asked 25 writers to tell us about a significant object they’d lost (or thrown away, or destroyed), then assigned these stories to 25 illustrators. The first Lost Objects series was such a hit with readers, and so fun for us to publish, that we’ve decided it deserves a sequel.

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Illustration for PROJECT:OBJECT by Dina Noto

I’ve always hated naps, though never more than in kindergarten, when the indignity of having to nap was compounded by being forced to lie on the floor between two strangers atop a “mat” stored in a “cubby” with your name on it. It hardly seems possible that I remember to which side of my mat Raymond Naples was stationed, but I feel positive it was the left. Raymond was a small boy, even for a kindergartener; he had a head like an acorn, with short curly hair where the cap would be. I didn’t especially like him nor did I dislike him, but there was something sweetly relaxing about his presence, which is why I spent naptime facing him, rather than the person to my right, whom I’ve completely forgotten.

One day toward the end of naptime Raymond slipped me a card, the size and shape of the trading cards the older girls on the street kept in the cigar boxes they’d somehow procured from their fathers, though none of their fathers smoked cigars. I could barely wait to be old enough to engage in such transactions as the ones those girls engaged in on the porch stoops at dusk. Really, all I wanted was for time to pass so I’d be an older girl, too.

What Raymond had given me wasn’t a trading card, though; it was a prayer card he’d been handed at church. The card showed Saint Bernadette of Lourdes in a wimple and headdress, a line describing a halo around her head. Raymond told me he thought I looked like Bernadette, but now, looking at her visage on my computer — miraculously preserved after 130 years in a crystal box — I see no resemblance. I suppose it’s possible Raymond had a crush on me; what I remember, though, looking back, is that I felt like he thought I needed a prayer card, and that I suspected he was right.

I put the card in the cigar box I kept in the back of my closet until the day I’d need it for trading cards. Eventually this box became the place I kept everything I didn’t want anyone else to see: the Chinese coin with a hole in the middle a sailor gave me on the 23 trolley. The letter my so-called friend sent me enumerating my failings: “8. a cheater, 9. a liar, 10. one who does not know the value of a dollar.”

The box stayed on the closet floor for a long time; I liked opening it and looking at its contents. I liked knowing the card was safe inside. After I moved away my father got rid of everything I’d left behind, turning my closet into a liquor cabinet with a lock, to ward off my mother. I haven’t thought about the card for years, though I liked thinking it was still there, my ticket to the ultimate transaction between the mortality I’d stupidly craved and my beatifically gorgeous self, preserved for all eternity like Sleeping Beauty in her coffin of glass.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: See sidebar.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Dina Noto is an artist and illustrator based in Western Massachusetts. Her background is in painting and experimental animation, and she is currently working in drawing, comics, and plush sculpture. Sloppy iphone pics of her most recent work can be found on Instagram @dinamarienoto.

LOST OBJECTS 2: INTRODUCTION | Geoff Manaugh on MOROCCAN TRINKET (ill. Mariana Pita) | Joe Yonan on MACRAMÉ ART (ill. Theo Ellsworth) | Laura Lippman on LABYRINTH GAME (ill. Laura Didyk) | Ben Katchor on LUCITE CARRYING CASE | Neil LaBute on PICKLED OCTOPUS (ill. Disa Wallander) | Miranda Mellis on SEQUINED SCARF (ill. Adam Goldberg) | Chris Piascik on GENERAL HUSTLER BMX | Jenny Kroik on MISSING TOY PIECES | Anita Kunz on FLOWER NECKLACE | Debbie Millman on GLASS POODLE | Heather Kapplow on CERAMIC ARTWORK (ill. Matt Wuerker) | Lydia Millet on ROCKY HORROR NOVEL (ill. Berta Valló) | Ben Greenman on WARHOL CAN (ill. Clara Selina Bach) | Leah Hennessey on BATMAN RING (ill. Dean Haspiel) | Kathryn Davis on PRAYER CARD (ill. Dina Noto) | Mikita Brottman on PINK ELEPHANTS (ill. Sarah Williamson) | Nathaniel Rich on AUTOGRAPHED BASEBALL (ill. Ellen Rose) | Charles Glaubitz on TRACK SHOES | Seth on ENTERPRISE MODEL | Becky Stern on SKELETON SWEATER (ill. Monica Garwood) | Mark Dery on GRANDFATHER PHOTO (ill. Kelli Anderson) | Paola Antonelli on VINYL SKIRT (ill. Guillermo Meraz) | Sara Ryan on FINGER PUPPET (ill. Steve Lieber) | Alex Gerasev on KARMA PARKA | Margaret Wertheim on ECCENTRIC BOOK (ill. Armando Veve).

FETISHES: INTRODUCTION | Josh Foer on DEATH MASK | Beth Lisick on MURDERED-OUT KFC BUCKET | Christina Couch on LEECH ACTION FIGURE | Kenneth Goldsmith on THEWLIS SOCK | Abby Rapoport on MAGNATILES | & 20 MORE.

FOSSILS: INTRODUCTION | Allegra Huston on SKATAWAY JACKET | Kevin Obsatz on HOMEMADE NUNCHUKS | Ian Bogost on DESKTOP TELEPHONE | Jeff Lewonczyk on CHA-CHA JACKET SCRAP | Kelly Horan on VOLVO KEY | & 20 MORE.

FLAIR: INTRODUCTION | Cliff Kuang on ROLEX DATEJUST | Ethan Zuckerman on LAPTOP STICKERS | Ann Shoket on LEATHER JACKET | Kembrew McLeod on KEMBREW MERCH | Paola Antonelli on MERMAID TEARS | & 20 MORE.

LOST OBJECTS (vol. 1): INTRODUCTION | Kate Bernheimer on MULLET WIG (ill. Amy Evans) | Dan Piepenbring on COLOGNE (ill. Josh Neufeld) | Doug Dorst on STRATOCASTER (ill. John Holbo) | Paul Lukas on VANILLA BEAN (ill. Alison Bamcat) | Mimi Lipson on DODGE DART (ill. Mister Reusch) | & 20 MORE.

ILLICIT OBJECTS: INTRODUCTION | Kio Stark on PEEPSHOW TOKEN | Sari Wilson on TOMBSTONE PARTS | Annalee Newitz on CAR-BOMB REMNANT | Tito Bottitta on MOONINITE DEVICE | Eric Bennett on DIRTY MAGAZINE | & 20 MORE.

TALISMANIC OBJECTS: INTRODUCTION | Veda Hille on CROCHET SHEEP | Gary Panter on DINOSAUR BONES | Jami Attenberg on SELENITE CRYSTAL | Annie Nocenti on MINIATURE DICE | Wayne Curtis on CLOCK WINDING KEY | & 20 MORE.

POLITICAL OBJECTS: INTRODUCTION | Luc Sante on CAMPAIGN PAMPHLETS | Lydia Millet on PVC POLAR BEAR | Ben Greenman on MATCHBOX CAR | Rob Baedeker on PRESIDENTS PLACEMAT | L.A. Kauffman on WHEATPASTE POSTER | & 20 MORE.

SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS at HILOBROW: PROJECT:OBJECT homepage | PROJECT:OBJECT newsletter | PROJECT:OBJECT objects (Threadless shop — all profits donated to the ACLU) | POLITICAL OBJECTS series (1Q2017) | TALISMANIC OBJECTS series (2Q2017) | ILLICIT OBJECTS series (3Q2017) | LOST OBJECTS vol. 1 series (4Q2017) | FLAIR series (2Q2018) | FOSSIL series (4Q2018) | FETISHES series (2Q2019) | LOST OBJECTS vol. 2 series (4Q2019) | MOVIE OBJECTS series (2Q2020). ALSO SEE: SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS website | SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS collection, ed. Rob Walker and Josh Glenn (Fantagraphics, 2012) | TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY, ed. Josh Glenn (Princeton Architectural Press, 2007) | TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY excerpts.

Categories

Codebreaking, Read-outs

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