The Glory of a Box continues

The story begins here in my previous post (https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/2340/)

Part Two

The Glory of A Box continues….

Glory Box

Glory Box

Then there’s the clock. It used to be on the mantelpiece in Nana’s bedroom. Dad and my uncle both remember it. They played with it as children. It didn’t go then. It doesn’t go now. Why is it in Mum’s glory box? No one is sure. But it’s there, brown and slightly irregular in shape,

Irregular

Irregular

along with a wooden tray, and Stanley Smith’s barometer

Barometer

Barometer

and the book of invoices from our Pop’s Mart. The book records the tastes and payment habits of most of the rural community of Methven (circa 1938), as well as my sister’s doodles and passion for Ray Columbus and the art of running away (circa 1971).

Doodles

Doodles

Mum’s scrapbook is in the box too. It’s a work of art from her student days at kindergarten training college.

And I find the gloves. Still sunshine-yellow, mixed up with a touch of custard. They still fit me. But the moths have had their fill and the gloves tear as I try them on. Perhaps they can be salvaged. I put them in the maybe pile.

We decide the box can be saved. It’s a very plain box; a plywood box. It wasn’t expensive at the time of purchase.  It’s not worth much now. But Mr Frizzell at the corner furniture store says it’s rimu plywood and it can be made to look nice again. He can restore Dad’s picture too. Dad says, “Can he be rejuvenated too?”

Mr Mallard, across town, cleans the barometer and fixes the clock. The barometer, once on a wall in Methven, once on a wall at Sumner, now hangs on my wall. The clock sits on the chest of drawers beside my bed. It ticks busily. It reminds me of Nana, small and busy and slightly bent, and I wonder when she last heard its busy little tick, and why she kept a clock that didn’t tick.

The box is placed at the foot of my bed. It’s not warm like honey anymore. It is oiled and has a rich, earthy sheen that matches my writing desk. The top is still a little warped but it is a glory box again. Inside there are clothes and lavender and unlabeled photos. Fanny and Rajar are there, but Teddy is not. He has gone to Sydney to be with my brother,  current custodian of Ted’s silver pocket watch. Lily, who may be Sissy or Mary, is there. And the gloves.

Back in the Box

Back in the Box

Box notes for 2013:

The box no longer lives in my bedroom. It enjoys a better life in the living room. The clock is temporarily secure in a bedroom drawer. The barometer remains on the wall where it  miraculously remained secure despite the huge earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.

For information on Ray Columbus, the New Zealand pop idol of my sister’s very young years, go to http://www.raycolumbus.com/

And, in recognition of the never-ending inspiration that comes from the Glory Box, please, please do visit my find of the day. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6fpN2g3pwY  This is a wonderful programme and interview with Paul Engle, the founder of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.  Until my research today, I had no idea of the connection between the theme of my mother’s scrapbook and this great American poet and his philosophy of helping hands.  Listen and enjoy, as he reads some of his poems.

© silkannthreades

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54 thoughts on “The Glory of a Box continues

  1. shoreacres

    Good grief. On top of everything else, a mention of Paul Engle, who started the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where I spent two summers in high school. Well, I wasn’t at THAT workshop, but at some designed especially for high school kids. Still, it’s a connection I cherish.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, a great connection. 🙂 We tend to think that the US cultural influence in NZ is a relatively new phenomenon. My mother’s books and writings c 1933 to 1950 show she was very aware of American poets and writers and films. I was surprised to discover this.

      Reply
      1. mmmarzipan

        Hi! We have indeed, thank you! We just returned from a one week boating holiday in the archipelago (30,000 islands… we stayed on 6! lol!) Hoping all is great with you 🙂

        Reply
  2. cindy knoke

    Wonderful post. Synchronistic too. My mom just gave me two boxes of family stuff…..Now I alm sorting through and finding all sorts of interesting things that refute the history I had assumed. Such an honor to be the “Keeper of the Box,” of an entire family’s history! Find these posts of yours fascinating.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you. I am sure you will be a wonderful Keeper of the Box/Boxes. It is fascinating how our assumptions are unraveled by some items of family history. And some items simply tie us up in more knots than ever.

      Reply
  3. Clanmother

    “When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
    ― Ansel Adams

    As I read your poignant post, I am reminded that we keep memories alive by recalling an imagine, a possession, a poem or letter that was dear to those for whom we care deeply. For me, it is dad’s books – for my mother, it will be her handwork. Things do mean something simply because they were important to someone else. My computer desk has small mementos – a letter opening, a clock, a candle, a photograph. They remind of the good and the challenging times of my life. I am at home!

    I just started to watch the Youtube video! Excellent – thank you!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      A beautiful quote. Possessions and photos can become very noisy with memories and emotions and sometimes we do need to sit with them in silence. Or just have them quietly next to us (as on your computer desk), accompanying us through our daily lives.
      Isn’t it amazing that all these years, so very many years, the box contained that gem about Paul Engle and I didn’t know it. It was waiting, just waiting for me to discover it. I read some of his poems and I am fascinated by the many, many references to hands in his work. (Helping Hands meant so very much to him).

      Reply
    2. Gallivanta Post author

      A beautiful quote. Possessions and photos can become very noisy with memories and emotions and sometimes we do need to sit with them in silence. Or just have them quietly next to us (as on your computer desk), accompanying us through our daily lives.
      Isn’t it amazing that all these years, so very many years, the box contained that gem about Paul Engle and I didn’t know it. It was waiting, just waiting for me to discover it. I read some of his poems and I am fascinated by the many, many references to hands in his work. (Helping Hands meant so very much to him).

      Reply
  4. utesmile

    The barometer looks one I saw in my grandad’s house when I was a child. Could be German too as the clock. My grandmother had a clock which looked like the “After Eight” clock on the very old packages long time ago. I loved that clock and always looked at it as achild , I was fascinated by it, and then it just disappeared. Shame, I would have loved to keep it even if it didn’t work. Your things are great and your memories with it!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Do you think present generations love looking at digital clocks as much as we loved looking at clocks in times past? You could be right about the origin of the barometer, Ute. More investigation on that point is needed.

      Reply
      1. utesmile

        I do think it is different in 50 years looking back at what we have in our houses now. There are still beautiful things around but they are different to those of our grandparetns generation. And also that was all handmade to last. Nowadays things don’t last and we throw too much!

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Yes, there are certainly beautiful things around but I agree that things don’t last. My new washing machine that I wanted to keep for the next 10 years is already causing trouble after 14 months!

        2. utesmile

          oh dear , mine is doing well with 7 years then….. 🙂
          things are not built to last, and usually it happens after the guarantee runs out!

  5. Letizia

    What a treasure trove! I love the barometer but my heart melted at the book of invoices with your sister’s doodles – there’s something about the mix of time periods and the mix of something so adult and so childish that is incredibly sweet.

    Reply
  6. Forest So Green

    I very much enjoyed going through each item with you. Its too bad that the gloves fell apart.

    Reply
  7. Heather in Arles

    Oh and bravo to our dear tg for the prompt as this was as lovely as the last. Very moving in its simplicity too. The objects speak for themselves, don’t they?

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, and, yes, they do. Sadly because I am so plagued by my wretched cold and cough, I didn’t have the energy to find the yellow gloves. I thought a photo of them would have been fun. tg inspires and educates 🙂

      Reply
  8. Virginia Duran

    What a nice story! This story made me travel. It’s amazing how words bring us to different places. Loved the old clocks, they look as if they were full of history. Also, thanks for the youtube link, I will do the homework now 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you. And speaking of travel, the clock came from Germany originally. I am not sure where the Barometer was made but it would have come to New Zealand from somewhere in Europe, for sure. Hope you enjoy the link. I forgot to mention that it is about 25 minutes long!

      Reply
  9. tchistorygal

    I have a box I opened once that my Grandfather bought. It had his WWI army blanket in it. I don’t remember what else, but it smelled REALLY badly! The other box he bought is cedar. I love that one and I have stuff from my grandmother, mom, and me. It’s my favorite! 🙂 I used to dust it when I helped Grandma clean house. I was about 5 and under. 🙂 Marsha 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Oh yes, I guess some boxes have some unpleasant surprises and smells! The cedar box must be lovely and will keep your possessions smelling beautiful. 🙂

      Reply
  10. melodylowes

    Ah, memories. I love your descriptive voice in these 2 posts – the box as warm as honey. I’m glad that you could salvage some of these knick-knacks of the past, and weave them into your life’s tapestry!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Melody. It was a piece I wrote when my brain was younger and fresher, and I was really very pleased that I still liked it, as is, all these years later.

      Reply
      1. melodylowes

        Isn’t that fun? I had a friend send me an excerpt from a journal entry I had scribbled in her book years ago – and I was surprised to find that I liked it, too!! 🙂

        Reply
  11. teamgloria

    oh!

    how lovely.

    and a Barometer.

    *sighs*

    there was one on our grandparents’ entry hall wall and we longed to see it change from FAIR (it lied) to SUNNY (never happened).

    delicious piece.

    we adore a good story.

    and a Box of Treasures.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The barometer, lies and all, is still more accurate than the weather forecast 🙂 ! Now, remember, that it was your prompt to me to write the story of the box that is responsible for this post and the previous one!

      Reply
      1. teamgloria

        and we are THRILLED that you did so.

        enjoying your stories very much.

        off to sleep now here in L.A *slightlyexhausted*

        more. tomorrow.

        goodnight new zealand!

        Reply

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