The memories hidden in your shed 8



View Profile

What sort of memories have you hidden in your shed over the years? Do you still keep a collection of odd things from your past or sentimental items or hobbies? Do you hide your souvenirs or treasured memories deep where they cannot be thrown out? Amazing how time gets away with us. I am 64 and in the process of moving house (again) and came across my mothers sewing kit. Actually there was a bit more than just a few bits and pieces. There were two boxes of sewing – big, BIG boxes and a few other items.  

Now my mother passed away about 20 years ago and I still have the cottons, wool for mending socks in many different colours, wooden hat block, even and old Singer sewing machine in a wooden case. There were knitting needles, crochet sets, lengths of laces, hat bands, plastic waist bands, belt making sets and even a miniature singer sewing machine. Press duds, all sorts of buttons in bottles, hooks and eyes, ribbons and binding, and amongst it all was mothers pottery tools…yes she did pottery as well.

Now that was mum’s stuff and most had not been used in over 50 years. Mum used to sew when we were young children and she used to make wonderful costumes for our ballet concerts. Often we were dancing in little Dutch girl, chicken or teddy bear costumes and we would take all the costumes down to my grandfather’s house in the holidays and use them as play suits.                   

My mother also learned Sumi-e painting and was extremely good at it. There in my garage was a bundle of her old paintings on rice paper. My sister had taken Mum’s brushes and I was left with the evidence of her exceptional skills. I remember she use to go and visit a particular lady in Brisbane to learn the painting and it would take many hours of practice to perfect the art with the brush strokes. 

Music was another one of Mum’s talents and Dad had kept his piano from his father’s house which we also found in the garage. Sporting a unusual set of brass candles on the front, this piano originally came from Ipswich and was pre 1900. It has been carted from house to house by my sons for me since my father died, and it is extremely heavy with its iron base, so much so that nobody wants to ever move it again. The piano is now being moved in all its glory in storage as it breaks floor tiles, damages wooden floors and is far too heavy to easily move anywhere. My children regularly tell me you cannot throw out family history, yet nobody wants it.

I also inherited a short wave radio and radiogram from my mother’s father, as when I was 15 years old I use to sit and listen to John Laws at my grandfather’s house in the Blue Mountains on his radiogram and play with his short wave radio, and he thought it was a great hobby for me. In those days Grandfather did not have a television, just a radiogram and the short wave radio. Somehow both ended up at my house 50 years later.

So where does it end with memories and saving these items that we have been keeping for years? Such wonderful memories but more stuff to move each time we change address. Each time we keep less and less as my sons consider that I am carting storage…and head for the dump. They have no memories of 50 years ago or my childhood. They say I am carting my mother’s old stuff which is no longer useful. Lucky I moved the 9 BIG boxes of photos and souvenirs to the new address before they found them!

207 245 208

Tell us, what things have you carted around from house to house for sentimental reasons? What heirlooms do you have?

Gillian Johnston

Gillian Johnston is a mother, grandmother, writer and hard worker based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Born in 1951, she's a proud member of the baby boomer generation. Gill has set up a website about the difficulties that arise over 60 years of age.

  1. Oh Gill I so understand. Have mostly dealt with inside the house and also found all the sewing things from Mum, but downstairs has not been tackled and in the depths underneath lies a ” surprise” box which came from South Africa 39 years ago labeled bits and pieces !

  2. I try to keep a minimum amount of memorabilia but my husband thinks everything is a souvenir of life and we are going through hell trying to get him to let go of a lot of it to downsize. It’s like pushing two elephants up a hill.

  3. I need help, I have some of my father’s stuff in my garage, some of my mother’s a lot of mine as three years since moving I have still not opened boxes and the photos are in a terrible mess. Plus I have the scenery from a stop motion film done by a friend and stuff from a girl who has gone back to England, some of my daughter’s stuff and some of my son’s.

  4. My husband has a wonderful collection of old tools from his father, some of them either unused or rarely used. Saws, chisels, planes, everything and anything to do with woodwork as well as motor cars. I found a wonderful little box of knitting needles of my mother in law’s. The needles are in wooden holders and wonderfully preserved. It is a case of what to do with them as I am reasonably sure the next generations will just dispose of them.

  5. Recently I had a clean out of a score of folders containing instructional media I had created during a training/adult education career. Now retired, every page represented the heart and soul I had poured into my work over 51 years. I felt as though I was throwing away part of my life.
    I can’t detach myself from my long-deceased father’s engineering slide rule, or his blue pin bowl with bubbles. They mean nothing to anyone other than me. I have a book of poetry by Keats that my mother gave me in the mid-Seventies with her written birthday wishes. I can’t bear to throw that out either.
    It’s interesting the attachment we get for objects although deep inside we know that one day when we go to the Dark Expanse, we won’t take a single thing with us.

  6. We bought nothing into this world and we will take nothing out but my goodness I’m going to enjoy my stuff while I’m here. It holds a special,place in my heart.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *