Broken Ships

I stumbled on an interesting thing at work today: a museum for broken relationships.

Filled with everything from torn up photographs to belly button lint to an “ex-axe,” the museum displays physical items — remnants of broken relationships — alongside the contributors’ stories attached to them.

While the physical museum is located in Zagreb, Croatia, exhibits travel around the world. There’s also a virtual aspect to it, and on their site at you can log your mementos and share your stories.

Broken hearts the world over at

I can’t take credit for the discovery: a coworker stumbled on it while we were meeting virtually. Having been married for over 20 years, he expressed that he didn’t “get it.” I said I hope he never does.

I find myself wondering what I would contribute.

Of my most significant, world-shattering breakup, after almost seven years of marriage and ten years together, little remains. Following the breakup I “Kon-Mari’d” my life and sold/donated/trashed fully two thirds of my possessions. I also moved across the country, which was good impetus to purge myself of the metaphorical and literal weight of things.

What remains to this day is a handful of mostly practical things: the good potato peeler, the nabe pot from Japan, the PS4. I still have some things from the wedding registry too, 12+ years later and counting: my trusty KitchenAid mixer, a stack of bath towels, half a Denby dish set.

The Denby dish set. That would be my contribution. Those damn dishes I still have to look at every single day, gifts from the wedding registry, the first of many marriage compromises: I wanted dots, he wanted stripes, we couldn’t agree so we got both. At least it was clear how to split them down the middle in the end.

Never trust a guy who chooses stripes over dots 😂

I couldn’t give them up to a museum though for the same reason I’ve kept them this long: they’re just too damn good to get rid of, too valuable to replace, and too strong to break. I’ve packed and moved them across the country twice and around Vancouver too many times to count; not a chip. I even dropped one from the countertop drying rack all the way onto my tile floor the other day, in the moment certain that was the end of it, and the thing didn’t even flinch. It might’ve damaged the floor, even. They’re indomitable.

Maybe that’s the real reason I keep them even though their continued presence in my life mildly annoys me: those plates were strong enough to outlast my marriage and catastrophic breakup (and so was I). Those mugs have held my tea through everything. Denby should have a new slogan: the wedding gift guaranteed to last longer than your marriage.

One thing’s been made very clear to me in writing this post though: I really need to invest in some new towels.

Leave a comment: Do you have any mementos from broken relationships? Is there anything you keep around for sentimental or practical reasons? Do you have half a Denby dish set of some other design you’d be willing to trade with me? What would be your contribution to the museum of broken relationships?

Nano Poblano Day… 9? Click on the pepper to visit my team!

4 thoughts on “Broken Ships

  1. Been divorced for 12 years now – long ago enough that I have no attachment to anything from that time. I even sold my ring. It was another lifetime now.

  2. I still wear the rings I bought myself as a reminder of the very long time in my life that made me who I am today … and brought me my children.

    I adore the new slogan for Denby and wonder how many other companies might be able to use it! 🤣

  3. I’ve been divorced twice. I don’t know that I’d donate anything. I don’t like to think about it, honestly. Both were extremely painful experiences for completely different reasons. Well, maybe I’d donate words. Advice. A “learn from my fail” type of story.

  4. “The wedding gift guaranteed to last longer than your marriage.” Now that is a slogan.

    In some ways, my blog is a memento from my first marriage, at least its predecessor blog was set up so I could work through the ramifications of a divorce. Even on the current blog, I’ve always kept a form of my first post out there to remind me.

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