Photo, The Keepthings

The story behind
the stories…

As so often happens in life, The Keepthings was born after something else died. For 15 years I was an editor at O, The Oprah Magazine, until, in 2020, the magazine closed. The last thing I published in its pages was an essay about my beloved cat Stinky, who died in 2002 and has been living in my ex-boyfriend’s freezer ever since. (It seems less weird—maybe?—when you read the essay).

I’ve always been one for totems and treasures, but writing about Stinky got me thinking about them in a new way. Few people, it’s true, would keep a dead cat in the freezer in order to keep its memory alive, but many people hang onto all kinds of other objects to remember and honor their dead loved ones. I wanted to know more about those objects, so I reached out to some friends—Do you have anything like this?—and was astonished by the amazing, deeply felt stories they shared. I felt like I could keep reading forever. I hope you’ll feel that way, too. — Deborah Way

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