I have two special objects on my key ring — one for each of my grandfathers.
My paternal grandfather was a captain in the Jersey City Fire Department. When he passed away in 2004, my brother, sister, and I each received a metal button from his dress uniform. The button has a loop on the back, where it was sewn to his uniform, so I used that loop to put the button on my key ring. It also says SUPERIOR QUALITY on the back, which is a nice touch.
The button has become a bit of a good luck charm — I’ll rub it when I’m thinking something through, or as a nervous tic.
As for the other object: Because of the bright morning sun, I keep my visor down during my drive to work. I keep a St. Anthony prayer card on the visor, and that made me think of my maternal grandfather, who was named Anthony (and who I was named after). When he recently passed away, I thought a St. Anthony medal would be a fitting addition for the key ring, so now it’s there along with the button.
Key Ring Chronicles is a crowd-sourced project that explores the stories behind objects that people keep on their key rings. It was created and is overseen by Paul Lukas, who has kept a quarter with a hole drilled through it on his own key ring since 1987. Readers are encouraged to participate by sending photos and descriptions here.