Mom'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.