As I am 89 on Sunday I think I am a bit of an antique myself, but in this instance I am talking about antique objects and how they stir up memories.
I like watching programmes on television which involve antiques. In particular I like Antiques Road Trip and I like Flog It. And tonight, watching both one after the other they stirred up such memories. It seems to be a week for memories and images from the past - must be something to do with my birthday I suppose.
First of all there was a chest - the kind that almost everyone had when I was a child - a good, sensible, hearty chest which held all one's foldable clothes. One drawer for knickers (no silly words for them in those days), one for brassieres and vests, and then the other two for the man of the house - one for underpants as they were called (long ones for winter) and one for vests and shirts. No nonsense in those days.
And I remembered the one my Grandparents had in their house - my grandma used to polish it weekly so that the bedroom always smelled of lavender polish. And more importantly, later in Flog It, I was reminded of what stood on top of the chest throughout my childhood - The Family Bible. Three, in a very dilapidated state, were sold on Flog It. The one on my Grandparents chest was immaculate. The chest had a white cloth on it, with a crocheted edging (done by my Grandmother) and the Bible stood on the cloth. By the side there was always a small glass vase of fresh flowers. The area was almost treated with reverance and when ever a new baby was born, or anyone in the family died,my Grandfather would bring The Bible downstairs and record the event in beautiful, copper-plate handwriting, on the blank page at the front left for just that purpose. I believe it went to my brother when they all died and I rather think, if he has kept it, it now belongs to his son.
And then of course I was reminded of my Grandparents themselves. My Grandfather, John James, was a local Methodist preacher, so it was always a strict no alcohol household. He went blind overnight and only lived a short while after that, dying in his mid seventies. My Grandmother, Martha (Patty after whom I was christened) lived on for another ten years, and she 'ruled the roost'. There were four of my father's sisters who never married (remember we are speaking of directly after the first World War when young men were in short supply). My Grandmother, who in my memory is always wearing a long black skirt and a tan and cream striped high necked blouse with a cameo brooch at the neck, had a chatelaine at her waist and took her daughters' wages on Friday nights and doled out pocket money. One daughter, my Auntie Pat, whom I adored, stayed at home to do the housework and shopping, two others were tailoresses and the last one was a milliner. What dismal lives they must have led. I know that one of them had a child 'out of wedlock' as they said in those days and it was taken away and adopted immediately. (I only found this out long after I left school). I do know that she always adored other peoples' babies.
So there we are: one family bible, one chest of drawers on a television programme and I am away again.