No, I’m not about to go all Julie Andrews on you, I’ve just been reading the WordPress weekly writing challenge which is all about your most meaningful possession. I don’t normally do writing challenges, daily posts, photo a day what-have-yous for the simple reasons that I’m a) lazy and b) stubborn, so not only would I not get round to a regular post (you may have noticed, ahem) but I would also probably rebel against being told what to post about in the first place. That said, for some reason this one started me thinking: do I have any meaningful possessions (apparently your beloved technology doesn’t count, boo), what are they and why do they mean something to me? The first object that sprang to mind was my old faithful sewing box.
So I know it’s not very exciting, certainly not at all sexy and you would be forgiven for rolling your eyes in the direction of this dowdy wooden leggy box, as Nick did when I first acquired it (along with comments like “you don’t really want to keep THAT, do you?”). But unfortunately for him, I do very much want to keep it, not least because it plays a starring role in one of my favourite childhood memories. The sewing box originally belonged to my Nana, whose house I stayed at regularly as a child in the school holidays. The house itself was a consistent feature throughout my childhood; the only house that was as I moved home before the age of 18 far too many times to count on my fingers. It was (and no doubt still is) a fairly spacious and light-filled semi-detached four bed in a quiet suburban road in Bristol, just the thought of which has the power to evoke a rush of nostalgia; even now I have the strongest memories of visits there.
In one of the smaller bedrooms lived her sewing box, which to me was a virtual treasure trove. It contained rows and rows of multi-coloured elastic, bias binding and threads. There were mysterious boxes full of needles, pins and other accoutrements that rattled when shaken. There was, rather excitingly to the young me, a bag full of different coloured ribbon, which Nana would sometimes let us wear in our hair tied at the end of plaits or atop bunches. Best of all, the thing I would always ask to play with, was her button stash. She had boxes and tins full of them, roughly sorted by size and for the smaller ones, colour. My favourites were the more interestingly shaped ones, the oversized nubbly oddities. With my child’s imagination, these took on individual personalities and I would spend hours creating stories for them or just searching through to see how many multiples of the same button I could find. I was lucky enough to inherit this collection too, although the poor sewing box is now too stuffed with my many bits and bobs to hold them.
My Nana was an accomplished seamstress, as were many women of her generation, and she had kept some dresses she made for my mother as a child, which I remember trying on with my sister when we were quite small. She also made us a rag doll each, one of which still survives at my stepdad’s house, that my own children now play with when we visit. It may well have been these that sparked my own interest in sewing; as a teenager, inspired by her industry, I made a pair of dolls from the same pattern which my girls also play with now (and have rather distressingly christened Rosie and Jim).
Sadly, the reason I now own the sewing box is because neither my Nana or my mother are around to use it any more, but I think of them both whenever I see it, which brings back many more happy memories than sad ones. Maybe one day it will even do the same for my grandchildren.