Recently I was looking around me and thinking about all the items I have gathered over the years. My treasures. The first treasure was a solid set of trunks. The history behind them something quite amazing.
My father was born in Adra, India and when his parents went to England with his brother (who was unwell) my father entered boarding school with his older brother. It was a Catholic boarding school. Both boys, like many others attending the school, were given two trunks. The top one had two big drawers with keyholes, then three big drawers below.
As an adult, my father kept the trunks in his and my mother’s bedroom. I remember the smell so vividly. He thought it was camphor wood.
When my father died, I asked for the trunks and now they sit in my bedroom. The wood is held together by dovetailed wood joins. I never knew what he meant, but a close inspection reveals no screws or nails in the trunks.
I like plain white glass and have a collection of bottles jars and other dainty dishes that sit on top of the trunks. My grandfather used to buy himself a bottle of gin every payday and I have one of his bottles. When I cam to Australia in 1952 on a Danish ship from India, so too did that gin bottle. It is a lovely bottle with a pewter thimble looking lid. It must have measured out a nip. It has a spider’s cobweb on the neck of the bottle. It survived the trip and sits here nearly 70 years later.
Other treasures I hold onto include my christening robe, made from a parachute. It was handmade using the parachute as there was no material available after the war. I also have my uncle’s (my father’s eldest brother’s) petticoat, which is white linen and hand-sewn.
I look at my mother’s collection of small dolls. One is half the size of my small finger and still has a white and red crochet dress on. It has white socks and black shoes. I have another doll that was made in Germany and is the size of my thumb. The one my mother loved was a baby made from celluloid. All wrapped in tissue. I wonder if any of my granddaughters will want them?
I have asked my only son if he would like to inherit my father’s trunks. I hope he does.
I feel old furniture does not appeal to the new generation.
Also in India, when my mother was growing up, her neighbour was the mother of well known Eurasian actress Merle Oberon. She gave my nanna some of her little pewter bracelets for us girls. I have given one each to my granddaughters and kept one in my care. I also have my rattle, teething ring and baby book. I love that my mum was such a ‘keeper’. It means so much to me to have so many reminders.
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