Friday, August 31, 2007

Hope Chest

When my grandmother passed away more than twenty years ago, my mother inherited her hope chest. I had always been told that grandma's father made it for her, and I believed that for a long time. But the evidence on the inside top of the lid is that it was purchased from a cedar chest company in Iowa. I suppose that actually my great grandfather bought it for his oldest daughter.

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.


Anonymous said...

This is such a lovely post. I'm glad you have wonderful memories and treasures from your grandma.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful wonderful treasure to have these remembrances of your grandmother. And her daily prayers for you.

ancient one said...

I lived just across the road from my grandma all my growing up days. I know she had to get tired of us "younguns'" always over at her house, but she never,ever let us know that. She let us spend the night and gave us cheese biscuits and hot cocoa for breakfast the next day. We all loved her soooo much!! Your grandmother sounds so much like mine!!