Archive for September, 2010

Grandmother’s Camphor Chest

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!”


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I am extremely happy to share the following with you:

  • A number of you have heard the news from my husband, but as of today I have been accepted into a very promising clinical trial that’s designed to help rejuvenate your brain cells. It’s not a full cure, but it appears researchers and scientists are getting much closer to identifying ways to actually help improve brain function. (Right now the medicine on the market is still designed to help people maintain their level of cognition.)
  • Greg and I are ‘Honorary’ Memory Walk chairpeople for the November 13th walk around Symphony Park. We’ve been working hard to put together walk teams, recruit sponsors and ask those who aren’t available, to make donations. (We’ll give you more details as the Walk gets closer!)
  • And, Greg and I recently got back from Chicago, where I had been nominated as a member of the Early-Stage Alzheimer’s Advisory Group. Our job is to provide feedback to the National organization, and, when opportunities come up, we are asked to make speeches, do media interviews, etc.
  • In addition, Greg and I are ‘Honorary’ Chairs of the Charlotte Memory Walk November 13 at Symphony Park in back of SouthPark and close to the Coca-Cola building. Although we’re ‘Honorary Chairs’, we’ve been working hard putting together walk teams, talking to potential sponsors of the walks and more.
  • AND, we are VERY EXCITED to do even more to raise awareness and funds, so this walk holds a lot of promise!


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