My paternal grandfather died when I was only about a year old. As such, I don’t have any memories of him. Growing up, I only had the stories that my parents told me about him and a few trinkets that he left behind for me. Out of these things, I cherished the keys that he gave me the most. My grandfather was a collector of so many things and keys were one of his favorites. These keys weren’t anything fancy. They were just some old skeleton keys and keys to locks that were long forgotten. But they were my most prized possession, and I was devastated when they disappeared during one of my childhood moves.

Still, those keys–and any lost keys I find during my walks and hikes–intrigue me. Stray keys have such mysterious stories behind them. Where did they come from? What did they once open? Who did they belong to? What journey did they have to take before they got to where I found them? Were they discarded intentionally, and if so, why? Or were they lost, and if so, how?

As a little girl, if it was too cold or rainy to play outside, I would sit by a window with my grandfather’s keys (and later the ones my dad added to my collection) and try to imagine what they might unlock. I came up with some mighty creative and unique ideas and eventually pretended that I was off on adventures to unlock secret castles or treasures.

Even now I sometimes just sit and daydream about the lost keys that I find. I don’t know if I am simply addicted to a good mystery or if my overactive imagination can’t resist a good story. Whatever the reason, keys will always hold boundless mystery for me and will forever help me see the possibilities in life and in my writing.

  1. Betty Alark says:

    Keys do unlock doors and they are keys to something! I like your thought on keys!

  2. Kristen says:

    I love this post; it’s so sweet. Unfortunately, keys were always the bane of our existence in my house, because my dad lost much of his short term memory, but not enough to not work. So, he was constantly losing keys. Half the town probably had keys to our house until we changed the locks! He has finally figured out a way not to forget them anymore. But some of those keys you have may be to an old lock on the door where I lived. 🙂

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