Thursday, 14 May 2009

Keepsakes

Soon I shall be able to tell you about the places we have seen - but at present the photographs are still in the camera and in need of sorting out, so that will have to be next week's job as I am still suffering from jet-lag and the effects of air-conditioning.
Meanwhile, Jinksy of Napple Notes posted an interesting account about keepsakes, ending with a lovely little poem (she is so good at conjuring up good poems at the drop of a hat), and last evening when I was too tired to do anything but sit in an armchair, I began to think about my keepsakes. Again, photoghraphing them is out as my camera is full of holiday shots - so this post will tell you about some of my precious keepsakes and I am afraid you will have to imagine them rather than see them.
But what an interesting subject and what food for thought. I think we all have a collection of bits and pieces of no monetary value but very precious because of their association. Jinksy was speculating on what would happen to them when we are gone - they will have no meaning to anyone else and will probably get thrown away. If that is so, then is it such a tragedy - they have been precious memorabilia to us - mine have certainly sustained me through crises, and I am sure yours have too. Here are some of mine: A small, oval tin with the words "Pastiglie di cioccolata" written in blue on the top. I keep my sewing needles and bodkins in it. The story behind it? One October twenty odd years ago, quite by chance we found ourselves in Venice at the same time as some friends. My birthday is in October and happened while we were there.
For a birthday treat we all four went to La Fenice to see the Shanghai Opera and at the end of the performance my friend, P, gave me this little tin of chocolate pastilles for my birthday. Why is it so precious? About two years later P decided she no longer wished to live and took her own life. She was such a jolly, gentle lady and each time I look for a sewing needle I am reminded of her. A tiny wooden cross roughly carved, which stands on my mantelpiece. The story behind it? When my brother was seventeen he went to Eire for the weekend with some friends and he brought back the cross (made from Irish bog oak) as a present for my mother. I was very close to my brother. He fought in Europe throughout the Second World War, was at Dunkirk and later at the relief of Belsen. Through all that time he had a photograph of me in his jacket pocket - I have it now, very tattered and war-worn. He died in 1986 ; this little cross, given to me by his widow (now in her late eighties) ,reminds me of him daily. A silver thimble, which belonged to my mother, sits in my sewing box - I use no other, although she had tiny fingers and the thimble is rather small for me. My father's sisters were either tailoresses or milliners and so, obviously, very good at sewing. My mother was hopeless and also had a complex about her inadequacy in that field. She discouraged us from sewing and knitting, implying that we would never be as good as our aunts were, so we were best to leave it alone. A small mother-of-pearl-handled penknife which spent its entire life in my father's pocket until he died, when it came into my possession. It sharpened countless pencils, whittled bits of stalk to make pea-shooters or catapults, cut apples in half to share when we were out on walks and came across an apple tree - whenever we needed a knife there was always Dad's penknife. Since his death it has become blunt and is unused, but it sits in my bedside drawer and I see it every day. Also in that drawer is a piece of wood with the initials DJR cut out of wood and nailed on to it. This is one of the first (and almost the only) things my son made in woodwork. His father treasured it greatly and always kept it nearby - now it sits with the knife in my bedside drawer - very precious to me for a variety of reasons.
I could go on - but that is enough for now. There are flowers from special occasions, which I have pressed inside books; there are notes - like the first poem my son ever wrote, when he was about six. Do you have keepsakes? I am sure you do - it would be lovely to hear about them.

15 comments:

Arija said...

Dear Weaver, keepsakes...mmm...the gold thimble of the Prof's grandmothers I have passed on to my fibre artist/designer/natural dye magician daughter. All my early ones like the silver monogramme my fater had on his briefcace (he was transported to Siberia when I was four) were consumed in a bush fire. I have new treasures thugh, mainly childhood drawings from my artist grandhildren...they are tucked away in various books, depending ontheir size...the occasional autumn leaf from Vermont...ah the memories.

Derrick said...

Welcome back, Weaver!

Two weeks ago I began a theme for Saturdays, featuring some of the artworks that we have at home. They all carry memories in a similar way to your keepsakes. Strange, sometimes, what an apparently insignificant thing can mean to the holder.

willow said...

I am probably a tad overboard on keepsakes. I could write a book! I'm such a sentimentalist. Loved hearing about some of yours.

Hildred and Charles said...

Weaver, - happy you are back, - have been missing your posts.

I agree, there are some treasures that will probably be thrown away, because the memories they invoke are ours, and ours alone. But there are others that are too precious, - I have a fan of my great-aunts in a deep picture frame, and plan on doing the same with other keepsakes in the hopes that they will survive and someone will love them for their associations.

Heather said...

What precious poignant memories your keepsakes have for you. I must take another look at mine and think about them.

Reader Wil said...

Welcome back! I missed you! Keepsakes? Well after the war I was twelve and had nothing, but I was happy to be in the Netherlands and free again. Little by little I got things, among them books, but I didn't become attached to them, I'm still not. The only things I will miss are my scrapbooks about my children. Thanks for sharing! I am looking forward to seeing your photos of Canada and the USA!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

How lovely to read about your keepsakes, Weaver.

Some of my most precious ones are plants which folk have given over the years. I like that I can propagate them so I have more to keep and also to give to others, so they become keepsakes for them from me too, ever growing!

gleaner said...

Keepsakes....I like to think of my memories from childhood as keepsakes..not big important events but the small moments and stories.

Cloudia said...

Thank you for sharing these dear dear emblems of your humanity with us - making us realize our own humanity...
Dear things are never really lost.
Aloha

Denise Burden said...

I have lots of keepsakes. At times I become quite morbid when I think of the future and what will happen to them. I'm an only child with no cousins and sadly no children of my own who I can pass them on to. Oh ... think I better change the subject!

Fire Byrd said...

What a lovely post.
Such bitter/sweet memories are attached to most keepsakes, love and loss, such powerful stuff.

Love the pics of your hols too!

Robyn said...

Welcome back Weaver. I have a few precious keepsakes and many others that I would probably forget if I didn't see them regularly. I enjoyed reading about yours.

BT said...

How wonderful Weaver. The penknife is particularly poignant as my father had one just the same. I wonder whether my brother has it now. A most interesting and warming post.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Isn't it lovely that our keepsakes are most often the simple and heartfelt. Items that mean the world to us, but would go unnoticed by others. I think often about the spirit we bestow onto objects, through our love and our memory.

Lovely post!

Dominic Rivron said...

Anyone who has seen that piece of wood will know why I teach music, not woodwork.