Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Antiques anyone?

 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.

23 comments:

Rachel Phillips said...

I guess you inherited the cleaning gene from your grandparent who polished the chest of drawers every week.

Bonnie said...

I enjoy hearing your memories. I have inherited our family Bible. Every Christmas my Mother had it displayed open to the birth of Jesus.

Melinda from Ontario said...

I adore antiques but my favourites are those I inherited from departed family members. My much-loved grandmother always flashes into my mind every time I use her old salt and pepper shakers...and I use them frequently.

Anonymous said...

I have a small desk that was my grandmother's. My brother has the family bible. It would also hide random newspaper clippings.

Heather said...

I remember my grandparent's clock - it was large and black with gilt columns either side of the dial and I also remember two large patterned china vases, on gilt pedestals. Very Victorian.
I have the family bibles, one huge one has completely split in half, the smaller one has many names and dates, and I have added my own name and our children's names. I must update it.
Every family seemed to have 'maiden' aunts whose fiances died in the First World war - so sad that they never had families themselves.

wherethejourneytakesme2 said...

I seem to be the one who has the collection of family bibles in our family - maybe because I am the only church goer now. My grandad's bible has a pressed flower in it that was in grandma's bouquet on their wedding day. My grandma on my father's side kept little cuttings in hers from the local paper of family and friends births and deaths. I treasure them all and will pass them on to my daughters together with my own that was a Christening present.

the veg artist said...

I often see things on these programmes and think of my maternal grandmother's house, filled with what would now be regarded as beautiful antiques. She had been born around 1890, and inherited many lovely things from her parents, also farmers. Amongst all the bone china there were three complete tea sets, of 12 settings each, not 6, those she called half-sets. Bibles and religious texts on calendars and samplers were everywhere, and I'm sure there must be a Family Bible somewhere, but we are a big family.
On my father's side was a great aunt who married her fiance in 1914 and waved him off to war the same week. She never saw him again. He is buried in Palestine. She taught all her working life.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Veg artist - yes I remember my mother having half and full sets of cup
s and saucers.
where the journeytakesme - what lovely stories of your family bibles
Yes Heather.Nice to hear your family bible is still being kept up.
Such interesting memories from you all.

Debby said...

I really love that you take us 'away' with you. I enjoy the stories.

Red said...

Most important thing here is your birthday. Have a very happy birthday.

Granny Sue said...

It is wonderful how memories can be called up so quickly, often things we've quite forgotten until the cue prompts the memory--and then how clearly we can see it all.

It's one of the joys of selling antiques and vintage, listening to people recalling when they or a loved one owned something like what's for sale in our booths. Makes me feel like I am in way preserving memories for strangers.

Susan said...

Wonderful memories and they were all brought on while watching the Antique Road Show. I watch this program too. I also love antiques and have several family heirlooms. Each piece brings many warm thoughts of relatives (past and present) and family rituals. Happy B-day Weave! Enjoy your special day.

Joanne Noragon said...

My father wrote a beautiful script that was taught at the turn of the century. My mother wrote a beautiful hand, too.

Brenda said...

Have happy birthday
You are amazing…

Cro Magnon said...

Having been in the antiques business back in the 60's, I occasionally watch the end of these programmes to see what prices things fetch. Anyone wishing to furnish an old house these days should go to auctions. Wonderful antiques are sold for next to nothing.

Derek Faulkner said...

Family bibles can be valuable sources of family history. When I began researching my family history, the bible on my father's side had birth and death dates of various family members going back to the middle 1800's, written on the fly leafs.

Bovey Belle said...

What lovely memories those programmes have evoked Pat. As antiques dealers down the years, we have a houseful of various pieces, some better than others. All practical - who could live without a coffer or two? Many pieces have been restored by Keith. All came from auction or Fleamarkets (or even car boot sales). I agree with Cro, anyone wanting to furnish a house cheaply should go to auction.

All our pieces are solid oak or mahogany, in the case of chairs, ash and elm. Built to last several lifetimes and more.

Flog It annoys me as people want to be on the telly, and bring along some very nice pieces sometimes. Occasionally they do well at auction, but so many family pieces go for the bottom estimate and I often wonder if people regret it afterwards. The feeble "oh it doesn't go with my decor" when it's just a jug or small picture has me grinding my teefs - especially when it is a true family piece.

On the up side, when we were selling regularly, we have had some wonderful conversations on the back of some of our stock and some very happy customers.

Mum didn't get the Family Bible, that went to one of her sisters. They turn up regularly, some in a dreadful state, so obviously dumped in a damp outhouse. Back in the day, folk used the pages as toilet paper as they were nice and soft (unlike Izal!!)

Librarian said...

Your memories always make for good reading - sometimes tinged with a bit of sadness, such as about the lives of your unmarried aunts, especially the one who had to give up her baby.
I have never regretted salvaging my grandparents' living room furniture from the 1930s after my Grandma died and we had to empty and sell the house. I love those pieces and wouldn't want anything else in my flat. Also, I use their "Sunday best" plates etc. every day - cream coloured with a gold rim.

Angela said...

Nobody uses the phrase "Maiden Aunt" anymore, or "spinster". My grandparents had four such siblings. One worked in an office, and I have the wood and linen perpetual calendar, which stood on her desk for many years. You roll round the spindles to reveal the day, month and date. Because its currently an "ornament" rather than a functional item, I've followed Thomas Hardys custom - I keep it set to the date I met my beloved.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Angela- lovelyidea.

Thank you all. I am pleased that so many of you have yourselves remembered something from the past by reading about my memories.

And thank yu for the birthay wishes.

Tom Stephenson said...

Antique furniture like 18th century tables etc. are very reasonable right now, especially when you see the prices of modern furniture. Some people will only have new in their house.

Anne Brew said...

One of my great aunts came home from Canada pregnant and with her new husband. He died on the way and she miscarried soon after.
She was my mother’s “maiden aunt” and apparently one of the kindest friendliest women she ever knew.

VC said...

Happy birthday.I am an out of wedlock baby who my mum kept! She's 88 now and has always been an amazing mum!