Mom's Cedar Chest

When we were kids. This photo was taken at a picnic of cotton mil families and in my mama's cedar chest.
When we were kids. This photo was taken at a picnic of cotton mil families and in my mama's cedar chest.
My old 56 Chevy and my youngest  sister Donna, a picture saved in mama's cedar chest.
My old 56 Chevy and my youngest sister Donna, a picture saved in mama's cedar chest.

Treasures Rarely Seen

Although I haven't seen it in so many years nor have I ask my mama who will be 85 years young on April, 3 2012 if she still has the old cedar chest that was in her bedroom when we were kids growing up in the mill village house where we lived. As children we had no need or particular interest to look inside that old chest on which were stacked the quilts used to cover our beds on cold winter nights. More than likely likely had we been nosy or happened to get caught snooping around in that cedar chest,we might well have gotten our legs stripped.. I suppose we never really had any interest in what was inside that old chest in those days but everyone once in a while, mama would remove the quilts and open the chest and sort through the contents.

When she opened the the chest, the smell of cedar rushed into our nostrils and maybe the scent of the moth balls that had been inserted to protect any fabric keepsake or paper documents like our birth certificates which she had stowed away for safe keeping. We each had a piggy bank though not much money in them just a few coins. Mine was blue and my oldest sister had one that was pink. I think the bracelets place on our arms when we were born were also in that cedar chest. Several years ago mama gave me mine and it read " Ballard-Baby boy. 7lbs 8 oz., 21 inches tall.

Mama had a purse in that old cedar chest and I'm sure it was not one that would have ever made a fashion statement. It was made of some kind of plastic and looked more like a document holder than a purse. Inside the old purse were photographs. Pictures of mom and dad on their wedding day and old photographs of her grandparents and some of her siblings. Old cigars dad saved given to him by friends who had had new babies were also in the cedar chest. Funny what folks deem valuable and worthy of saving isn't it?

We do not have a cedar chest like mama did and all the memento's, and photographs are saved either in scrapbooks or filed in a desk drawer. I remember once while staying with my mom's parents, grandma had an old steamer trunk. Inside were the accumulation of treasures she had saved. Old spectacles and razors from bygone days, Sears-Roebuck receipts for items ordered from the catalog along with vouchers she had never redeemed valued only in cents, most under one dollar for over payment for goods ordered. There were also newspaper clippings saved recording events such as obituaries and and other items that interested her and thought to be worthy of saving for posterity sake.

I have a dear friend who tells me her grandmother had an old trunk in which she stored the clothes she had made in which she "would be put away". She also said her mom had a cedar chest and only allowed those occasional peeks inside. In her trunk were the love letters saved from her husband, family photo's, and some ration stamps saved from WWII, memories of some very difficult times for everyone in our nations history.

I for one would love to spend some time going through that old cedar chest one more time just top see how much I have forgotten that is still in the chest but one thing for sure, I bet that old purse is still right where it always has been right there in that cedar chest.

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Comments 17 comments

mom101 profile image

mom101 4 years ago

Aren't they wonderful, the memories we have? I can invision you as a child sitting quietly by as your dear mama went through that chest. Eyes filled with wonder and delight.

Voted up and beautiful because as I read through the hub, I too was taken back to similar times.

Hold them dear. My mom, is no longer with us, and every time I go near that cedar chest, I can feel her as if she is very near.


Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 4 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina Author

Thank you mom101, yes those were precious times.


diogenes 4 years ago

That looks like a lovely chest and would be quite valuable, I imagine...you ought to take it on "Antique Roadshow."

I am a bit ambivalent about yesterday's treasures. Because I had such an unrewarding childhood, nothing has hung around from those times and I don't even have many pictures of my parents.

I find I do dwell on yesterday far too much these days and it interferes with me making the most of what yet may come (not much good at 72!).

Nice story Bob


Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 4 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina Author

This is a photo from the web and not my mom's cedar chest although hers looked very much like this one.


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana

I always loved the smell of my mom's cedar chest too. It was a wedding gift and has since been handed down to me. It's since lost the cedar smell...so maybe I need to find some small cedar blocks to add to it!?!


Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 4 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina Author

Shore nuff" That will probably do the trick.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

I don't have a cedar chest but I have a 'personal box' that I like to go through time to time, little things in there I am so pleased I have kept, full of precious memories from years ago.

I loved reading this hub, thank you for sharing and voting up!


Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 4 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina Author

Thank you MovieMaster


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 4 years ago

I never knew anyone who actually had a cedar chest, but honestly I would have loved to, particularly if it had belonged to my mother.


Daphne Staton Hedden 4 years ago

My Mother didn't have a cedar chest, but I did. I left it behind,along with everything that was upstairs in my Grandpa Beddingfield's house, when I got married. I had the whole upstairs of his house as my playhouse in the 6 years that we lived there. When he died, my Mother and her siblings divided up the items in the house.

Somebody got my chest, and nobody ever mentioned my chest or my Howdy Doody puppet, both of which I would have loved to get back. I remember my Grandma's spinning wheel was up there, also. I wonder who got that. I know that my Mother didn't. I gave my niece, Kathy, a doll which she probably never played with. She was more into riding horses and being outdoors at her Granny Lindsey's house. She had a real life doll, her son Matthew, for 24 years before he died. She had to do everything for him, and she doesn't begrudge any of those wonderful years she had with him.


Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 4 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina Author

Daphne, it is a shame because those items belonged to you and the sentimental value cannot be valued in dollars or cents although I bet they are both worth quite a bit now.


pmccray profile image

pmccray 4 years ago from Utah

What a unique way to savor the past. I find as I age that too many of us while young dismiss memories of a bygone era as sentimental and foolish until you reach my age. Thank you for sharing, voted up, marked interesting


PenMePretty 4 years ago from Franklin

Precious memories...always in our soul. Thanks for sharing. Just beautiful. Voted up!!!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Oh my momma has one of those too!!!!!! She's probably about your age though, and I ...it's never locked or anything, but I'll not disrespect my mother's privacy or special things in that chest! Nope!


Tams R profile image

Tams R 4 years ago from Missouri

Wow! You really brought back memories for me with your story. My parents had a cedar chest. The magical and off-limits wooden box in their room no one was allowed to touch. When Momma would sit down with me and look through it I remember the pictures along with the smell. To this day it is a comforting memory. One baited with excitement of the next great find inside. Thanks for the memory!


How to - Answers profile image

How to - Answers 4 years ago from Ireland

A lovely story of your childhood and memories of your mother and her ceder chest. I do enjoy reading other peoples memories of times gone by.

Thanks for SHARING, Up and Awesome


Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 4 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina Author

It was like looking for hidden treasure under the watchful eyes of my mom. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment.

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