I don’t keep many mementos at work, but one of the few personal items on my desk is a dollar bill folded into a bow tie the way Aunt Judy taught me to do when I was around 10. It’s a reminder for me that the most mundane subject can be made remarkable if you lavish on it a bit of attention and inventiveness.
Judy died last month, shortly after her brother (my Dad). I always admired her keen interest in the world around her and her commitment to making that world a better place. After college she worked for the Department of Labor in DC, with a particular focus on regulation of child labor. Her own father, my grandfather, had been sent to work in a cotton mill at the age of 6. Her work helped ensure that no longer happens in America.
Of course, if President Cuckoobananas gets elected, those days might come again. Teach your children origami now – a cottage industry craft might come in handy.