I will be the gladdest thing under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one.
~Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Afternoon on a Hill"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Day Past Due Tuesday: Finding Things in an Old Box


This is a silk dress; wrinkled, fragile, thread bare in places with smocking and a scalloped hem.Sis and I found it in the very bottom of a box filled with letters and diaries. Inside this box were my grandmother's letters from her husband who was a traveling pianist in movie theaters..., letters that gave us some insight (and some questions) about our family. Interesting letters about a time when our grandmother was very young and life was written down in long letters and personal thoughts were put into small books and dated, written with pens that had to be continuously dipped into a container of ink, sometimes dripping onto the page when hands were shaking with emotion. Life spilled out..., hand written, onto pages of small books and journals. Letters and saved things that were important to someone, that meant so much to my grandmother, so long ago. Old photos, report cards, class pictures, advertisements, announcements and obituaries. Life and death, happiness and sadness...,

...,and then, in the very bottom of this old box, folded together.., a young girls dress. A lovely blue silk dress with hand painted flowers and a pink hat, a small hand made purse and a blue handkerchief. It was the only clothing in the old box. It must have been very special. I picture the late 20's. The "flapper" style dress; short, sleeveless..., the "cloche" hat. This was not a grown up dress. It's seems more for a young girl or pre-teenager. A dance dress perhaps. A very special dance. My Mother's? Her sisters? We will never know, for a certainty, who this lovely dress belonged to, but I suspect it was either my Mom's or my Aunt Marcia's because this was my grandmother's box of things.

We found a lot of my Aunt Marcia's letters and journals, school things, pictures she drew and wonderful childhood items that my grandmother had saved.
You see, my mom's sister was always getting sick as she grew up (they think, now, that she might have had Leukemia) and she died at Merritt Hospital in Oakland, CA. in 1937, when she was only 18 years old. My grandma never got over her death. I only remember one picture of my aunt, a large one in a beautiful frame, on her living room wall. She never talked about Marcia unless I asked her and then she didn't say very much.
Mom told me that her little sister was very beautiful, popular and talented. Mom said she had a sweet personality and liked everyone. She was 2 years younger than my mother.
I think that this little box was a place where Grandma put all the memories of her daughter and laid them to rest. I think the dress was Marcia's. Maybe it was made for a "first" dance.
I wish we had known her. I know how important my sister was and is to my boys. There can be such a wonderful connection to an aunt. It's like having a "back up" Mom when you're tired of the one you live with. Another opinion, another point of view and another place to lay your head.
It would have been nice to know my Aunt Marcia, in life, but now I know her a little better ...,because we found this old box of memories.

Please go to Roomies for more Past Due Tuesday posts about old things and stories that need to be told again.
Posted by Picasa

10 comments:

susanc said...

What a special find. Your aunt was very beautiful. I hope that I will (and do) hold a special place in my two nephews' lives. I love them dearly.

Jan Ely said...

Welcome home! Your aunt was very pretty--I'll have to ask dad if he knew her. So many mysteries in our lives...

Sue said...

What a lovely and poignant story about your Aunt Marcia. It's true that in many close families, there is always an aunt that is a "substitute" mother and confidante.
Hope all is well with you these days...
Sue

Reddirt Woman said...

I have found a box in my move that I am getting ready to go through... No clothes, but an old photo album, a letter written by my oldest brother and lots of photos. I hope I find some little treasures. You've inspired me to take pictures as I unearth whatever is in that box.

A lovely, loving story about your aunt that you never knew but will forever feel her presence in your heart.

Helen

jojo said...

Thanks for sharing such a sweet and beautiful find. I have a box that holds special memories and mementos of my lost son...it is just something a mother does...it is her walk through grief and it helps. Just as you will find ways to walk through the grief you and your sister now share. Take care and glad you are back safely...jj

Roslyn said...

This was a very emotional post for me, I could picture your grandmother saving all those treasures as I save Matthew's. & what a bittersweet find for you as it will be for my family when I am gone.
It would have brought me to tears.

Laura ~Peach~ said...

WONDERFUL.... i have treasure boxes.... from family members... HUGSSSSSSSSS

Madeline's Album said...

This was a very touching story. You now have more lovely memories to add to the ones you already have. Hope you had a good time with your grandsons and glad you are home safe. Have a great day. Madeline

P.S. Thank you for your visit and comment to my last post.

Chicken Boys said...

That is so cool. I wish I had something like that for my grandmother.

Chef E said...

You just stirred a memory of something that happened this past summer, thanks for sharing...