Working Hard and Having Fun: It is What We Do

by: Lindsey Malko

When it comes to items within my place of residence, plenty of the items have special meanings behind them, but they aren’t necessarily items that I have for a material purposes or for a certain display of an economic power which was seen in The Queen of Versailles. Most of the objects in my possession have more of a sentimental and practical value than anything else.

Living in a college apartment really affects the types of appliances and items that one might have. Because of our low status on the pyramid, we do not have as much money to furnish our homes with expensive items that really show our wealth, such as the gas chandelier-type lighting that was found in the Merchant’s House Museum. Those lights were found in the main sitting room where guests were invited into to show off how fancy and nice they could keep their place. An item such as that would not be found in my apartment, but something with more value to me and my roommates would.

We are essentially marking a history of our lives, and even though these objects will be taken away in a few short days due to graduating and moving back home, they still represent something in a new place. These items that we have strategically placed in our apartment “serve as a ritual space within which cultural memory and history are preserved” and for which we have special uses and special meanings (Cvetkovich 109). They represent who we are, in the sense that we like to have fun, but like to get things done at the same time. We are college students after all.

 

Our Keurig Machine

This object is not actually mine but belongs to my roommate. It is important to my apartment because of how we use it. Many families may have Keurig machines in their homes to alleviate the hassle of making coffee in the morning. For us, the case is the same when we actually have K-cups to use. At my home where I grew up, we do not even own a Keurig machine, so being able to use one at school makes me feel pretty special. It helps us to have more time to do work, just popping in a K-cup and some water and the coffee will be made within 5 minutes.

 

The Collection of Whales

 

This next collection of objects represents our fun side. Once in a while, when we have some free time and being of legal age to drink, we will go out with some friends after a fun concert and have some drinks. One of these drinks happens to be called the “Blue Whale” from the restaurant Houlihan’s. Over a larger period of time, we have these whales as evidence of how many of these drinks we have had, but also to decorate the wall at the same time. The whales serve the purpose of documenting the fun times we have with each other, not how much money each of them is worth.

The Sink

From a domestic standpoint the sink has a lot of meaning. In our apartment we specifically do not own/have a dishwasher and we would not be allowed to put one in either. It shows that we have to do all our hard work, but when our hard work is done we can enjoy ourselves. It represents the value that we take care of ourselves but also, since we are all female, are always doing the cleaning. If we did not do it, then no one else would, and it is important for us to maintain a healthy lifestyle and clean apartment while living at college and making a future for ourselves.

This post was completed as part of an assignment interpreting the “material culture” of home, and how objects, keepsakes, and ephemera from our domestic lives contribute to our social identities. For additional information on the assignment, please visit: https://americanstudiesmediacultureprogram.wordpress.com/the-concept-of-home-spring-2014-the-archeology-of-home/

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