Tangible memories

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On Friday, George and I took the girls over to his parents’ house in the afternoon and we drove up north to my grandmother’s place. My aunt and uncle had been there for a week, packing things up in her apartment because it was being rented out for the beginning of February. They had sorted through and either thrown out anything not worth keeping or donated a lot of things to the church. They also set out anything that we had all expressed an interest in having.

We arrived and managed to cram the things I had wanted into the back of George’s car. We came home with my grandmother’s dresser, a quilt, some silver cutlery, some china, and a little cast iron wood stove that I used to play with as a little girl, and that Hayley had played with too. When we got home, I also found several horses for Hayley, a doll, and a bunch of pictures. I’ll have to scan the pictures and share some of them.

The dresser is still in our hallway because we need someone to come and help carry out my old one, but I can barely wait to set it up in the bedroom. There were two dressers to choose from but I took this one because this was the one that was hers for as long as I could remember.

My grandmother's dresser

The quilt was a surprise. It was actually wrapped around a lamp that was being sent over to the church, but I asked if I could take it. My uncle warned me that there were some rips in it, but was happy to let me have it; it was one of the quilts that was always on the beds upstairs and I have very strong memories tied to her quilts because of that. I don’t care about the rips and maybe I can fix them some day.

(And meanwhile, the kids like it too, especially Breanna who likes to lie down on stuff at random.)


I love having the stove. It means a lot to me and it also means a lot to Hayley. There were two stoves like this and my sister took one too; my mother made sure everyone knew to leave the other one for Hayley.

Wee stove

It’s strange to walk into someone’s home and see all their things boxed up and set to one side with things like “for Sherry” or “Mabel’s stuff” or what have you. It’s strange to see someone’s life put into organized piles. But it’s nice to have some real physical reminders of someone too. Just like I always think of my other grandmother when I flip through her recipes or use her dining set, just like I always think of my great-aunt when I use her wire whisk or turn on her horse lamp with the big red shade, I’ll always think of my grandmother when I take something out of my dresser drawer or wrap up in her quilt on a cold night – or when I watch my kids playing with her little wood stove.

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