If you are a child of divorce or have gone through a split yourself, more likely than not you understand the significance of those "special" objects--whether family heirlooms or dollar-store trinkets--that neither spouse can bear to part with, even if the marriage itself has long since ended.
Jennifer Morris, a member of New York-based theater company The Civilians, has lots of experience with these "contested objects," as she calls them. Or, more specifically, one "contested object" in particular--a Tiffany Lamp her parents are still fighting over 20 years after their divorce.
Last year, Morris approached three fellow members of the company, Matthew Maher, Caitlin Miller, and Robbie Collier Sublet, all children of divorce, to collaborate on a play about the evolution of their parents' marriages--from falling in love to falling out of love, and finally divorcing. The result is "You Better Sit Down: Tales From My Parents' Divorce," which is constructed around a series of candid interviews each actor conducted with his or her parent--whom each also plays in the show. It runs August 16-21 at Massachusetts' Williamstown Theater Festival.
Below, we invite you to continue the conversation. The images have been culled both from the actors in the play itself and from followers of the show who responded to the call by The Civilians for people to send images of their own "contested objects," as well as those of their parents. (Note: in instances where the actual objects were not available, photos of similar objects were submitted.)
Click through the slides below and tell us if you fought over any objects in your split by adding a slide to the mix!
"He didn't want anything. He just wanted to walk away. He wanted no monument to the relationship. Oh, he did take a hair dryer. Jerk...He left me that weekend with 4 kids and no hairdryer!" --Mary Anne, ex-wife, Chicago, IL. Divorced in 1978 after 16 years of marriage.
"My parents were forever going to court to argue over money, custody, who was lying about what, etc. [During] the divorce, my father somehow got possession of the home movies. My mother began to enlist us kids to steal the movies from our father. I remember being at my [his] house and trying to secretly go through his closets. Inexplicably, twenty years [later], my father showed up at my mother's house with the box of home movies. My mother hardly knew what to do without this particular battle to fight." --Emily, daughter, New York, NY. Parents split in 1990 after 18 years of marriage.
"My dad did this owl sculpture in the 1960's, while my parents' were dating. During the divorce and divide of EVERYTHING, my mom claimed she didn't know where the owl was and never gave it back to my father--until her house caught on fire a few years ago. The owl emerged out of the water soaked basement! My dad says she had selective amnesia about the things she didn't want to give up." --Zee, daughter, New York, NY. Parents divorced in 1987 after 20 years of marriage.
"I came home on the appointed day and half the furniture was missing. And you know it was fairly done. I mean, she left me a bed to sleep in. I just didn't give a f***. I just wanted the whole thing [to be over]. I wanted to find a girlfriend." --John, ex-Husband, Cambridge, MA. Ended 10-year marriage in 1978.
"He bought this very expensive $1,100 bicycle, swanky. And he never road it. I'm the one who rode it. When he was taking things out of the house, he took the bike! I threw a fit. Until he actually brought it back and left the bike in the garage. I still have it to this today." --Claire, ex-Wife, NY. Divorced in 1999 after twenty four years of marriage.