My grandmother, who passed away many years ago, possessed a lovely wooden carved chest, which now resides in our living room. The chest is lined with camphor, found in the wood of camphor laurel.
The benefit of camphor is that it preserves linens, paper and other items for many years.
When Grandmother died, I was fortunate enough to receive the camphor chest. In that chest is an amazing array of items very, very old, and some a bit newer.
My favorite items are two original grass skirts from Hawaii in 1942. My grandfather, whom I never knew, was a captain in the Army, stationed at Pearl Harbor during the bombing. (A side story – my mother Fidella and her sister Jeannette were very young, and when the bombing began, Grandmother rushed to squeeze them under the beds. The dining room cabinet fell over and broke most of the wedge wood china. I have the remaining pieces in my dining room.)
The other story is a bit outlandish, but my Grandmother told me it was true: she was so traumatized by the bombing that she couldn’t speak – so they put her in the secret service since she wouldn’t be able to pass information around. My husband howls at this, saying, “If you can’t speak, you certainly can write something down on paper!”
Other than dishes, my favorite items include:
- A Revolutionary War uniform and sword from my Great Aunt Mary.
- A mink stole. (I’ve never worn it, but it is soft and might be useful if I dress up for Halloween anytime in the next century!)
- My mother’s wedding dress. When I married Greg, I wore her dress with some slight alterations.
- Copies of Newsweek from 1949.
- A pearl handbag.
- Small white dress gloves.
- Life magazines from 1962, 1963, 1969 and, 1970 – the issue featuring the Kent State event.
- A very old Girl Scout Handbook – which instructed young girls to mind their manners and curtsy.
- Rusted metal from the Berlin Wall.
- A small but thick VERY OLD book with daguerreotype photos of my Grandmother’s ancestors.
- A marriage certificate for my mother- and father-in-law dated 1949.
- And from Greg’s family, I’m fortunate to have some lovely china, needlepoint, stained glass and other wonderful and memorable items, which I value greatly.
So, as you go through life, count your blessings. And, as Bob Hope says, remember to give “Thanks for the Memories!”