Blog/ Family

Found in the basement

My great-grandfather’s handkerchief box:

handkerchief box

He was a farmer, and a lodge member. Inside are two bandanas, various receipts, lodge jewelry, a card from the Maryland Horse and Mule Company, and my favorite item, his business card. It has what I’m thinking is a philosophy of life inscribed on the back:

handkerchief box interior


Y’all — what are your favorite family objects? Or alternately, if you hate your family and/or their objects, what are your most loathed?

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  • vj
    June 3, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    That’s a gorgeous box, and gorgeous interior, Sara. I wish keeping older stuff was important in my family. I got some of my dad’s things when he died, but not necessarily things that were important to him or me. I’m still glad I have them though.

  • Michelle
    June 3, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    My grandmother’s turquoise jewelry, pieces of which are now in the hands of my mother, sister and a cousin. My mom wears one of the big unwieldy rings pretty much 24/7 lately.

  • Sara
    June 4, 2007 at 9:48 am

    vj, it’s a mixed blessing — i’m incredibly pleased and happy to have the things i have, but i’ll also have a whole lot of decisions to make at some point about what to keep. for example, another box in the basement holds my great-grandmother’s check stubs — which might actually be useful to some academic who wanted to track purchasing patterns among rural presbyterian ohioans in the fifties, say…

  • Mim
    June 5, 2007 at 11:12 am

    That box is amazing. Yeah, figuring out what the keep/toss/donate is hard when you have a huge amount of family detritus. One of my favorite items, and that I use almost every day, is this letter opener that was my grandmother’s:

  • sara
    June 5, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    oh, i really like that letter opener. nice.

  • Jenni
    June 5, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    My great grand father made all these different ceramic thing that were sold at carnivals all over the country, and he also used them as prizes becuase he guessed people’s weight and ages at carnivals. Well when my grandmother was a little girl she helped him in the shop, and she would spray the eyes on the little kewpie dolls. And she kept one of the kewpies the she sprayed the eyes on, which was the only thing that i got after she died. It’s one of, if not my most cherished item.

  • Talya
    June 6, 2007 at 2:18 am

    A small seaman’s chest that belonged to my father – it’s covered with old nautical charts and I have a thing for travel, oceans and maps, so it’s perfect. Also a letter my grandfather wrote to my mother when I was about three containing pictures of my (much removed) cousins that he thought I should know about. I have no idea who they are, but I love the three little snapshots of two boys and a girl in dreadful seventies haircuts and clothes.

  • sara
    June 6, 2007 at 9:59 am

    clearly i should have asked people to post pictures! these all sound fabulous.