Friday, December 5, 2014

A Box, A Story, and My New Favorite Heirloom

With the passing of my mother and both of my grandmothers, I have accumulated my fair share of family heirlooms.  None of them, however, compare to the one that was given to me just a few weeks ago.  

My aunt is downsizing and passed this little gem along to me when I visited her last.  I love the story behind it for many reasons. 

Apparently my great-grandmother used to take in sick people during and after the depression.  When my great-aunt Deena was having her tonsils removed, my great-grand mother met a lady at the hospital who had nowhere to go so she invited her to come and recover at her home.   This would have been like 90 years ago.  That lady stayed for several months and when she left, she gave this trunk to my great-grandmother.  

The trunk had been in her family for 100 years making it now almost 200 years old.  It had traveled on the back of a wagon when her family traveled across America to find a place to settle.  Apparently my grandmother added handles to the side of it which took away it's monetary value, but the sentimental value cannot be altered. 

So like I said earlier, I love this trunk for many reasons:

1. I love that my great-grandmother was the kind of person who invited perfect strangers into her house so she could care for them. 

2. I love that someone carved this trunk by hand and placed it, with all of their belongings, on the back of a wagon 200 years ago.  I can't help but wonder what they would have thought if someone would have told them that one day it would be owned by a family who would set their two Chinese daughters on top of it.  

3. I love the inscription they carved on top. It says, "In this the art of living lies, to want no more than may suffice."  

I have no doubt that every nick on its surface has a story and I can only imagine the other stories this old trunk could tell. 

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