Monday, September 26, 2011


Many years ago when my grandmother passed away my mother and her sisters went through her things and divided up much of it.  Sadly, as they went through her cedar chest, much of what they found had no meaning to them.  There was no story or memory they could attach to the items.  They had beautiful lace, dresses, embroidery that was without meaning to them.  They knew it was special to their mother and that's all they knew. 

So today I spent time with my mother cataloging her cedar chest.  She emptied the chest onto her bed.  I took a picture of every item.  Mom told me about them, who made it, where it came from, where it was used.  For the particularly special items, I brought my video camera to record Mom telling about it.  I think my favorite video is the one with my Great Grandmother's hair combs and pins.  She is going to take the photos and type up everything she knows about the items.  The document will be printed out and put in the cedar chest.

I came home with three vintage handkerchiefs.  Two have hand worked lace edging, one crochet, the other tatted.  The third handkerchief is well over 100 years old, silk, from England.  I know that my grandmother did the lace edging and that my great grandmother's sister would bring handkerchiefs with her as a gift when she came from England for visits.  The silk handkerchief is one of those gifts.  These are my "payment" for helping.  I'll be archivally framing them and hanging them as wall decor in my new living room.   They will be beautiful and will make me happy every time I look at them.

I'm also happy to know that when the time comes for my sisters and I to go through my mother's cedar chest without her we will know the stories.  

I guess I'm just telling this story because I think everyone should document what they have.  We won't always be around to tell someone else about why that stack of envelopes is special or who crocheted the lace on that pillowcase.  There are a lot of things in our lives that are priceless to us and worth little without the story to go with them.  Make sure the people you love have the stories.  

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