In 1949, Mum received a cedar chest as a Christmas gift so it had been part of her life almost forever. Now, it might have looked like just another piece of furniture, but, as my brothers and I soon discovered, it was really much more like a “treasure” chest.
Important things were kept in that cedar chest, not so much to keep out the moths, but to keep in the memories. The chest was too large to move to Mum’s new condo so it would be going to a new home. It was time to clear the contents and that’s when things got interesting.
Like so many parents, Mum, had collected things over the years she thought her children would want…someday. As items were removed from the chest, they were sorted into separate baskets and then the baskets were loaded into our cars so we could deal with the contents…later.
Then, Mum asked the question “When are we going to go through the baskets?’ That’s when we realized we had almost missed an incredible opportunity to share a lifetime of wonderful memories with her and with each other.
The baskets were quickly returned to the garage where they would be opened the following day, accompanied by bowls of ice cream, some tall story-telling, a lot of laughs… and a few tears!
Who would have thought the clown and alligator pajama bags Mum made when we were little would looks so scary now? We laughed when we saw how they’d aged – not nearly as well as we had – we figured!
Mum kept school projects like her Kindergarten art book from 1935 and my brother’s number book. “I hope there are some girl’s numbers in these books”, Doug said as he leafed through the books, but the only numbers he could find were “1-2-3 and 4”!
There was a well-worn “S” crest from some long-ago Superman costume, “Topo Gigio” ears and Dad’s “Grinch” and “Christmas Story” sweatshirts. Scout uniforms, high school sweaters, baby books, photographs, a smocked dress, a plaid kilt, and a couple of sad looking fur collars… everything brought back memories.
One thing we know for sure… the stuff wasn’t all that important.
But that Sunday afternoon, with the five of us sitting around the garage eating ice cream and laughing, sharing and connecting as only family can, was priceless!
Now it’s your turn…
As you downsize and share the memories, CELEBRATE THE MOMENTS!