Euterpe Farms, Ojai, California   


I have an old, chipped porcelain cup, probably WWII war surplus. My mom used it to scoop powdered laundry detergent from a box. I can trace that cup back as far as I can remember. I also have the family shoeshine brush made from wood and what looks like horsehair. How many times has that brush put on a final shine before church, a graduation, or a first date? How many times do you have to handle a shoe brush to inflict that kind of wear?

These kinds of things are a mystery to me. They’re like a secret because their value is hidden and personal, derived solely from their prolonged use, touched by familiar hands thousands of times, the truth known only to a few. How can a worthless object hold so much energy? I can feel the past in them. What used to be a simple, mass-produced item, a surplus porcelain cup, transforms into a unique, one-of-a-kind item with an irreplaceable value of its own.