Tucked-away heirlooms to be shared

Published 11:39 pm Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Where did I put it? I searched through every drawer in the chest in my bedroom and on the shelves in the mirrored wardrobe.

“I put it in a place I was sure I’d remember,” I whispered to the cat sleeping on the bed. “Now if I could remember the place I put it so I’d be sure to remember where I put it.”

I laughed as I reached under the bed and pulled out the plastic container I use to store stuff I want to keep but have nowhere else to keep it. The top was dusty, reminding me I needed to vacuum under the bed. I dusted it off and popped it open. Inside the box was an old cardboard shoebox.

“Maybe that is where I put it,” I said, sure I’d solved the mystery.

I looked in the box and smiled as I saw all the pairs of white gloves. They were a variety of sizes and lengths, some a little yellowed with age.

Each pair was a story from a different time in my life. The small wrist-length ones I wore as a child probably at Easter. Several pairs were elbow length or longer. Those were definitely from prom days back when girls wore long gloves with their gowns.

The box also held a couple of baby shoes, some tiny socks and a crocheted hat. Items that sent me down memory lane, but not what I was hoping to find.

Stacked inside the larger plastic box were papers and envelopes. Even though I knew they had nothing to do with my search, I couldn’t resist taking a look at what I’d saved.

There were birthday cards dating back to my first birthday and handmade Mother’s Day cards from my children. I found a calendar that Daddy made for all of us one year. It showed everyone’s birthday and listed our contact information. I noted the changes in names and addresses since the day he created it, and I also noticed my information hadn’t changed over the years.

Lying at the bottom of the stack was the term paper I wrote for Mrs. Purvis my senior year. The topic was Mahayana Buddhism and I got a B+ grade, mostly because of incorrect footnotes (everyone of a certain age just cringed at the mention of footnotes).

Before closing the box, I opened one final white envelope and read the invitation to my parents’ wedding. My mother saved it and at some point handed it down to me.

It was bittersweet taking a tour of my life contained in that plastic box but it didn’t turn up what I wanted. My last hope was the buffet in the dining room that once belonged to my grandmother. I opened a wide drawer that was crammed to overflowing.

As I pulled out placemats and holiday saltshakers something fell at my feet.

“There you are,” I said, picking up the delicate piece of fabric. “Thank goodness I found you.”

I unfolded the handkerchief and saw embroidered flowers in the corner. There was fraying on lace edge but the thread creating the flowers was in good shape.

As I folded the handkerchief and placed it in an envelope, I thought about my grandmother, Daddy’s mother, sitting, probably with her mother, stitching the flowers.

“This might be almost 100-years-old,” I wrote in the note to my niece that I placed in the envelope.

The handkerchief should reach Starkville, Miss., in time for my niece, Brock, to have it when she and Zac repeat their wedding vows Saturday evening. I know my grandmother, her great-grandmother, would like being part of the day.

Maybe, Brock will pass this heirloom to her child on some future wedding day. Perhaps, like me, she’ll search her stored treasures to find it.

And, I hope she feels joy when she holds the handkerchief again and remembers her wedding and those of us who were there sharing her happiness as she begins her life with Zac.


Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.