Mine: So much life is contained in such small things. What holds meaning for you?


(Marge Ely)
September 13, 2013

David S. Kessler

59, Silver Spring, small-mammal biologist

I saw it first in my father’s cramped open office space in Jersey City in the late 1950s. A plastic turntable called a Rototray, it held pencils, pens and the mysterious tools of an air conditioning salesman/engineer: compasses, slide rules, binder clips, odd and wondrous devices that he allowed me to inspect. Yet what I loved most was spinning the turntable, attempting to follow one object as it rotated round and round.

The turntable migrated to West Caldwell in the mid-’60s, where my father’s large office removed him from the hurly-burly of daily sales and calculations. Yet the turntable stayed. Functional? Maybe. A reminder? Surely.

It resided in the basement after a too-early retirement. But he rediscovered it in his 70s when a previously unknown artistic talent emerged as he became a ceramist and jewelry designer. The turntable brimmed with silver and gold wires, files, brushes and more wondrous devices that were still mysteries to me.

When he died a year ago May, I asked my mother if I could have the turntable. It squats on my desk, empty, ready to be filled with whatever the tools of my inspiration may be.

Tell us about what you treasure and why: E-mail 250 words or fewer to WP Magazine. Please use “MINE” in the subject line, and include age, city and job.

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