K is for Keys,


Today, I am contemplating keys. Not piano keys or maps keys. Just regular old (where the #%$! did I put my) keys. Remember getting your first key to something? Suddenly you are a grown-up. You can unlock the world…or the door, whatever.

Giving my children their first house key was a milestone for both of us. To their credit, they have always been  very responsible. The first car key was much harder! The freedom and responsibility that comes with that one little piece of metal is enormous! It is cool, though, that they can display their personality through their key ring or lanyard. The first thing my son did when he started college was purchase a lanyard with the university emblem on it. My daughter has an Eiffel Tower on her key ring.

Hubby and I both have lots of keys. He has keys to both his parents houses and keys to the file cabinets in his office. I have a key (actually a fob) to the school where I work and keys to all the cars we own. There is also a large assortment of keys cluttering up our junk drawer. I’m no longer sure what any of these keys go to but I can’t seem to bring myself to throw them away.

I do realize that keys are becoming quite archaic. I’ve seen the new “keyless entry” cars with their push button ignition and houses with coded door entries. They’ve even developed smart phone technology that can lock and unlock your whole house with the push of a button! Me, I still like having an actual key. I also prefer books made of paper and butter made with cream. I’m just like that, but I do think we need to be careful about how much we rely on technology.

Case in point: A coworker told me the other day how she had come across this young girl in the mall parking lot who was very distraught. Being a mom, my coworker went over to see if she could help. The girl told her through her tears that she was locked out of her car.

“I think the batteries in the fob are dead, see.” she said and proceeded to point at the car pushing the button on the remote entry. My friend gently took the keys from her and used the actual car key to unlock the door.

Happy ending.

Aside from the fact that they are obviously handy items, every key is like a tiny little time capsules. Each one of them has a story, a piece of someone’s history. Maybe that’s why I’m so reluctant to throw away all those keys in my junk drawer. Imagine the stories that those beautiful old keys that you see in antique stores could tell. Think about how many hands have held them and all the purses and pockets they have visited! Pretty amazing.