“I need my keys!” This was the refrain of one mentally challenged man in a group home. He carried around a large key ring with dozens of keys. The man was a character played by Josh Mostel in a Broadway Play, The Boys Next Door, I saw many years ago with my sister. She worked for a company that produced the play and we had a thrilling opening night of that play that ended at Sardi’s. The play was so beautifully done (the review at the link describes this well) and reflected my own experiences as a ‘house mother’ working with six severe and profoundly retarded children when my son was an infant. To this day the word “keys” can trigger this bittersweet memory of the play’s love, joy, laughter and deep pain.
On a more practical note, the fact that keys reproduce in drawers is well known. It is almost as commonplace as the phenomenon of keys disappearing and reappearing during times of stress and urgency. This week’s purge is overdue. I have let my pile grow and it is time.
Here’s my pile. I am going to be ruthless! The only thing is . . . I am not going to get rid of them. I have a heating project planned for all the extra keys without a home. And, I have decided to put a call out to all my neighbors in the newsletter getting distributed later this week. I want all the odd keys.
About 10 years ago I put an email out for everyone’s spare, lost keys at the Architectural firm where I worked in Phoenix. It was wonderful to get piles and piles of keys. I made a lampshade at the time and gave it to my kid. He left it behind in a house he moved out of a few years ago. Funny, I thought it was priceless art. I guess I had an inflated notion of my work. Ya think?
It is not possible for me to end this post without a nod to the powerful icon the key is in our culture. The key is about entrée or opening, revealing or releasing (as in unlocking). Is it accidental that the black and white objects for our fingertips at the piano or the computer are called by the same name. With thoughts of community, I want to keep this concept close.
First image, Keys
P.S. A note about last Monday's Jewelry Purge . . . Didn't happen. As I suggested in my community newsletter, the jewelry box will be opened again next year and I will empty it. Before that time I might wear something, or think of an imaginative use for re-purposing. I adore re-purposed items. And these typewriter keys are what I am talking about . . .