Tag Archives: boxes

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

The Glory of a Box

 This is a piece I wrote in  April 2004 to commemorate the restoration of my mother’s Glory Box. It is long, so I will post it  in two parts. My parents were married in 1948 so the Glory Box pre dates that year.

A hope chest, dowry chest, cedar chest, or glory box is a chest used to collect items such as clothing and household linen, by unmarried young women in anticipation of married life. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hope_chest)

The box has been in my uncle’s garage for 20 years, or maybe it’s 30. No one is sure. No one can remember exactly how it came to be there. I remember it in the hallway at Grandad’s house at New Brighton. It was warm and golden like honey, A touch of honey yetand inside there was a pair of hand-knitted gloves, all sunshine-yellow mixed up with a touch of custard. It was once Mum’s glory box. Mum says she is sure there’s no glory in it now. She can’t even remember what’s in the box. My uncle says ‘blankets and coins’. Dad says ‘rubbish’.

My uncle is cleaning out his garage, so we tackle the box. It’s hidden under  cartons and suitcases. The lock is broken. The top is bent. There’s a hole in the side from my cousin’s skateboarding-in-the-garage days. But it has survived the flooding.

Inside the box, there are blankets and coins. My uncle says the coins are not worth a penny. Are they Mum’s? No one is sure, but we keep them anyway. Most of the blankets are moth-eaten, fit only for rubbish. As are Nana’s two, tiny, moth-reduced cardigans. Was she really so small?  The mohair rug from her house at Sumner is musty but there’s not a moth bite in it. The back says,” This rug will be replaced if attacked by moth”. Did they really intend a more than 60 year guarantee?

Brown mohair ageing in place

Brown mohair ageing in place

We find towels and tarnished silver-plated forks. They’re probably Nana’s. Who put them in the box, and when? We find Pop’s starched white collars, size 17, at least a dozen. His cigarette holder with the little gold rim is in the box too. I remember the cigarettes, but not the holder.  We find their passports, but, hey, I say, why is Nana, ‘Maude’, with an e? She was always Maud without an e. I remember that. My uncle goes upstairs and checks her birth certificate. The passport is wrong.  How did that happen? No one knows.

The box is musty. I have to wear a mask to avoid the smell. The photos are particularly musty. There are dozens of them. Some are from Fiji days, others are older. Most of them are unlabeled. Dad says, this is such and such, and my uncle says, this is so and so.  Sometimes they agree, sometimes they don’t. Fanny, the Harewood grandmother, and her dog, Rajar, are easily identified. Harewood Grandmother 1935They are not so sure about their Dunedin grandmother. Is that really her? She looks too young to be the mother of grown-up daughters. They’re undecided.  Dad says this is a portrait of Aunty Lily, Frank’s Lily, from Canada. My uncle says not. He says it’s one of their father’s sisters; maybe Sissy, maybe Mary.  She looks like my sister, so maybe my uncle is right. But Dad is sure it is Lily; the one with tales of sledding across the snows of Canada.

Is this Lily?

Is this Lily?

The brothers agree that this one is Teddy.

Teddy, of the silver pocket watch, who died at Gallipoli. There’s no label on the photo, just an address, but they know it’s Teddy. Teddy, who died years before either of them was born.

There is a photo of Dad as a baby. It’s the only one of the photos still in a frame. It isn’t labeled but there’s no mistaking Dad.

A bonny babe

A bonny babe

To be continued………

© silkannthreades

Back to the box, for the record…

Back to the box;  not the tissue box, which is permanently attached to my nose at the moment,  but the one in the living room. Back to the box, to take a look at what other ‘treasures’ it has for me to record, to envisage as my own  personal palimpsest.  TreasuresToday, on top of the box, there is Royal Doulton ware that once belonged to my grandmother. I am the current custodian but I know little about the items other than they date from the 1920s.

The book is a recent purchase of mine from a second-hand store.CopybookIt is a copybook. I love that it is a copybook; that we are being invited to copy the illustrations. It makes me feel like a child again, industriously copying pictures or using tracing paper to copy pictures.  I want to take up my brush and copy this illustration from the book,Copycatsalthough the artist, Shutei ( whose name has the lovely meaning of ‘small teahouse in an autumn garden’), says that cats are a difficult subject to paint. She suggests we  begin with the much simpler white plum blossoms.

I wish Shutei were here to guide my hand, as she did with her own students, but, since she was born in 1894, I think I will have to manage with only her guiding spirit via the book.

Shutei’s book probably had a print run of thousands. Or maybe not. It is still available on Amazon but, then, what isn’t! I have a another type of copybook , that is one out of the box;  literally. I found this account book  in the box in my living room. It was used in my grandparents’ bakery and butchery. It is a record of accounts, paid and unpaid, in 1948 and 1949.

One summer, I think the summer of 1970/71, my sister, and others, used the book for writing and drawing and copying and rough drafts and games, and general amusement. Although it is not a treasure as valuable in monetary terms as the Royal Doulton, it is priceless, as a layered, multi-dimensional record of a short period in our family’s history. It’s also very funny and provides as much entertainment now as it did back in that summer of the seventies.An original, one of a kindTake a look, it’s all in the book…

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Our history, personal and otherwise, is recorded in many different formats. Each has its own value and worth.

This week in New Zealand, we are asked to record the birds in our garden, for the annual Garden Bird Survey.  Last year the top bird in New Zealand gardens was the commonplace sparrow. Other years, the brilliant little silver eye has taken top honours.  If you live in New Zealand, and are reading this post, take a little time  to participate in the  survey. http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/science/plants-animals-fungi/animals/birds/garden-bird-surveys/instructions.  And, then, let’s see which bird tops the charts in 2013. If you want to get more fun out of the survey, as well as recording your answers online, write them down on a piece of scrap paper or a docket and tuck it away somewhere, like a box; it will be a lovely find for you, or someone else, one day.

© silkannthreades

What do you see?

What do you see?  What do you hear?……..All EarsI see a box; I see a rug;A box, a rugI see a flower on the Tree of Life; I touch a flower on the Tree of Life;Flower on the Tree of LifeI see a tray;Tea TrayI sense tea; I taste cake;Tasty treatsI feel the shape of the tea-cup in my hand;Cup for my handthe warmth of the teapot in the afternoon sunWarm feelingsand I hear the quiet silence of my house on a winter’s afternoon.

Today, 27 June,  is Helen Keller’s birthday.  If you would like to honour this remarkable woman, spend a few moments honouring and treasuring each of your five senses, no matter how perfect or imperfect they may actually be.

Then enjoy some time with the wonderful people at Helen Keller International; and be inspired by my dear friend Victoria Quinn as she writes about the Human Yardstick; and, finally, check out Good Housekeeping and up date yourself on 10 Facts about Helen Keller. Did you know she loved dogs?

https://www.facebook.com/HelenKellerInternational

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/victoria-quinn/checking-in-on-the-human-yardstick_b_3404554.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=global_motherhood&comm_crv

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/family/inspirational-people/facts-about-helen-keller#slide-1

© silkannthreades

Take one box

Take one box Take one box

Take one box (take 2)Take one box (take 2)Take one box (take 3)Take one box (take 3)Take 4Take 4Take five Take 5-ishTake a key

Take another lookAnother lookPenultimatePenultimateFinal take? Final take?Boxes, chests, travelling trunks, cartons, suitcases……these containers for possessions, precious and plain, have been part of my family’s life and history for generations. They have traversed the world with us, and then some.  For as long as I can remember, boxes/trunks/chests have been as integral to my living spaces as the kitchen sink. Unlike the kitchen sink, I love them.

On 20th June, the UNHCR asked us, the people of the world, to consider, as part of World Refugee Day, what one thing we would take with us, if we had one minute to flee our homes. http://unhcr.org/1family/   The question is difficult to answer, and, of course, there is no, single correct answer.  I don’t know what one thing I would take. When we  fled our home after the big earthquake  in February 2011, I took my laptop, my mobile phone, my handbag, which happened to have cash, credit cards, passports and medications in it at the time, a bit of food, and a handful of clothing.  And the keys to the house.  ( I have heard it said that people fleeing will often take the keys to their house even though the house may have been lost; and/or  the owners have no idea when they will be returning ) As you can see that’s more than one thing!  But I had more than a minute to think about what to take 🙂   However, I will say that, out of all the things I took away with us that day, the one thing that turned out to be the most valuable  was  knowledge. The knowledge that boxes and belongings are non-essentials. When it really matters I know how to let them go.

© silkannthreades