'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Sunday, 10 November 2013

My Mother's Old Sewing Box


Mum's sewing box.

I got it down from the top of the wardrobe yesterday and it was covered with little borer holes.  Looked inside the and the blue silky lining was in shreds which parted at the lightest touch.   Time to let it go.  I took it out into the garden and burnt it, but before I did I took a photo for posterity.

There are lots of bits and pieces that are up in the top of my wardrobe.  Most I have wrapped up carefully and popped in a note.  Snippets of information - whose it was, What it was for, maybe a memory of the person or two - for whoever eventually gets it.  Stuff from the past too precious to ditch, but for the most part, unusable.
There's an astrachan (or astrakhan) hat that my Russian Great Uncle Alexander brought for me on one of his visits from Pakistan, where he lived most of his life.  He worked as the Karachi 'Dawn' newspaper printing machine repair man ....

Or, between tissue paper, a hand-made lace collar that was removable for washing.  I need to check with dad, but I think it belonged to my Nanna Constance and she wore it when she was In Service - a maid for someone ...

Or, from Great Auntie Maimie who lived in Rhodesia and sent me stamps; a painting of the pied piper of Hamlin and all the children - done on glass - with iridescent blue-green (Epitola posthumus?) butterfly wings peeking through from the background ...

I wonder if you too have a family 'treasure' or two from the past.

10 comments:

  1. I do. I use my grandmothers bread knife to slice my bread. I have my grandfathers wooden ruler ~ one of those that fold up. Not something I use, but it is a reminder of how he used it. And I have some unfinished emu eggs that he used to carve. And his patterns for his timber carvings ~ he made us all a jewelry box when we were kids and an occasional table when we got married. My grandmother's little writing desk sits in my bedroom and is my favourite piece. But my mother has a china cabinet full of stuff for each of us that she would love to offload now. It includes an eggshell covered shoe polish bottle (vase) that I made for my grandmother as a child. And she gave me back a number of letters I wrote to her as a child before she died. They are really special. I have asked my Mum for Grandmas cookbook. Sorry to hear the borers got your Mum's sewing box.

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    1. Fascinating Carol. I loved your descriptions. Each of those things are so, so special. Monetary value has no significance in this area.

      I'm not really sad about the sewing box. But my post has got me thinking that a good photo(s) plus a recounting of memories might be very precious too, for the future generations.

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  2. Far too many to mention, and every one of them is special.

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  3. I have my mother's sewing box - wooden, and so though it's battered it's still serviceable. I hadn't realised she'd kept it till she died. I remember playing with it as a child - and there are still cards of darning wool in there with my little drawings on! Precious and irreplaceable. Thank you for stirring a memory.

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    1. How lovely Antonia. I also have my Mum's button tin. I have played with each button - sorting, grading by size, and some 'extras' from long-gone garments that I remember so well ...

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  4. Oddly I, too, have my Mum's sewing box. It is wooden and stands on four legs and was made for her by my Dad. It still has all the contents as she left them. I also have my maternal Uncle's roll-top desk (which is absolutely filled with memories of my childhood visits to his cottage in the Bedfordshire Village of Clophill). There are so many things: so many memories.

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    1. That's nice that all the things are still inside her box Geeb. I guess the roll-top desk is in the northern hemisphere ... sounds lovely!

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  5. I have my paternal grandfather's moustache cup (lovely pink and gold teacup and saucer) from before the turn of the century, and a cranberry glass vase that my father gave my mother around the end of WWII. My wife has a dowel that her mother used for rolling out almost-transparent layers of phyllo dough to make bakhlava, and a cedar chest full of crocheted doilies for tables, antimacassars for upholstered furniture, and embroidered pillow cases with crocheted edges, We have considered framing a few, but where to begin? And where to end?

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    1. Oh wow Robert. What a delightful collection, linked to a cultural as well as a temporal past...
      I have a lot of embroidery and lace too. I'm planning to frame ONE piece. And represent the others by thus doing so ...
      Coincidentally my Dad and I are having an ongoing email conversation about pink vs blue regarding gender implications. He informs me that pink was a boy's colour pre about 1940. Blue was considered prettier, and so was for girls. And babies of both sexes wore white as it was much easier to bleach.

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