About fifteen years ago, the hope chest came into my possession. There are only a few items that I truly treasure and this is one of them. I remember where the cedar chest lived in my grandma's house and I remember looking at it often. I never expected to own it because I wasn't the oldest granddaughter, merely the third of five. So it is a joy for me to have it.
The cedar hope chest is very old. It was showing the wear of its age, so in the spring I found a woodworker who agreed to strip the old varnish off. Two weeks ago, I sanded it down and refinished it and it lives again in my bedroom at the foot of my bed.
This week I replaced the treasures that belong in it. They had been packed in two large boxes during our move.
One of the treasures I keep in there is a small chest that belonged to my grandma. In it I store some of my memories of her.
Her name was Emma Louise. I have the same middle name.
Emma collected hankies. I bought her one once in Taiwan and brought it home to her.
Emma loved to garden. The gardening gene skipped my mother and came to me. I can still see my grandma in my memories kneeling in her garden pulling weeds wearing this sunbonnet.
My grandma was a true Christian. She told me she prayed for me every day.
Among her treasures is her porcelain doll.
I was very close to my grandma, and I loved her so much. My brother and I spent many mornings and afternoons at her house, eating breakfast, playing in the yard, reading, doing homework, because in those days of Ozzie and Harriet, my mom was one of the unusual ones who worked. She was a bank teller and then an auditor. I'm sure she would much rather have stayed home, but because of my father's WWII injuries, we never knew when he'd be back in the hospital. And she had grandma to watch us. In many ways, we were the lucky ones. The last year of high school, I lived with her while I finished my senior year in high school after my parents moved to California.
I am happy to have these memories of my grandma, all wrapped up in such a beautiful piece of furniture.