When I graduated from college I asked my parents for one thing - this trunk:
I didn't just ask them for some random antique sitting around the house, I asked them for the single trunk one of my ancestors brought over from Poland with her when she immigrated to the United States. I come from a family of poor farmers - we've been dairy farming in Northern and Western Wisconsin for a long time, so we do not have a lot of things sitting around that belonged to them - we never had that luxury. Everything was used until it was gone.
I think this particular thing survived because it was so useful, and couldn't be turned into a rag, plowed to death, and probably proved useful storage. It certainly shows wear on the outside and the inside as well.
Right before my parents gave it to me my dad fitted the inside with cedar and turned it into a cedar chest for me.
I use it to store memories, lots and lots of letters, little trinkets and pieces of family history.
I wanted to clean it out today, so I took everything out. I pulled out a few photo albums to put on shelves but everything else went straight back in.
It was good to look at these things - old diaries, love letters, journals, pieces of family history, and photographs. My life has been a happy one, and my family amazing. These things remind me, again, that I am blessed.