The Blanket Chest

My mother bought this antique blanket chest a lifetime ago. It’s worth some money even though it’s dinged up and has cheap hardware, in part because of the wood. That lid is A SINGLE PIECE of pine. So is that very large front piece. I don’t know if pine that size can even be found anymore.

Things inside have a way of being forgotten. Maybe because the lid usually has some decorative item on top that needs moved before lifting? The drawers stick. And usually a couch crowds access.

What did I find today? For starters, a treasure trove of stickers. I’ll send all but the shiny stars to Charlie in Georgia. Even a woman in her 60’s needs a gold star now and then.

What else? A patchworked rectangle. Jeans I think I was meant to repair (and will now that they’re visible again).

That gorgeous Irish wool above was also purchased by my mother. I’m gonna make a drapey jacket out of it, goddamn it. But even if I don’t, how nice to be reminded of Mom! Just yesterday I was talking with a friend about who we hear from or who we wish we might hear from. My mother and father felt close in the final seasons of my sister’s life. On occasion I could even hear them, offering essential support at a time when I wanted to give up (or die). Lately? Not so much — until I held that cedar-scented wool to my face and inhaled.

Beautiful vintage Boy Scouts and Indian Guides mementos. There are sashes, badges, patches, reward ribbons, and a written manual. Probably, our boys will have to figure out what to do with these items because we won’t part from them.

Christmas mouse-making supplies will go back downstairs but I’ll keep the felting supplies in the chest.

Perfume ads from magazines are obnoxious when flipping through pages but make incredible deodorizers in closets and drawers. There were eight or ten. I threw all of them out since they fade over time.

Lastly: Newgrange, sacred site in Ireland that I visited in the 70’s. I transferred a vintage photo of its entry and a diagram of the layout onto cloth. Purpose — to be determined.

Do you ever hear from people who have passed? And if so, how? Voices? Synchronicity? Fleeting images?

And now it’s time to get up and go. We will walk to Wegman’s for ingredients to make cream of asparagus soup. Yum! Lamb if there’s any left and since it’s Easter: a bouquet of flowers.

From camera roll several years back. Look! There’s Chadwick Boseman. There’s a little boat under a starry sky stitched by Hazel.

8 thoughts on “The Blanket Chest

  1. Liz A

    my dad made me a six-board pine blanket chest when I was a teen … a hope chest, when such things were still a thing … it never occurred to me to wonder where he found such wide boards, but the sad thing is the largest front and back boards warped in no time at all, pulling loose at the top and bottom from the wooden pegs that were meant to secure them … still, the chest remained relatively intact and functional and has followed us from one house to another for nigh on 50 years

    like yours, it has a way of being a catchall, rarely opened … now I’m wondering what’s in there right now … hmmmm, nothing as luscious as your Irish wool and pieced cloth I’m afraid

    my mom used to put bars of lavender soap in drawers, along with a wide variety of sachets … she died 15 years ago, but comes to visit in the form of ladybugs and often clears the traffic in the right lane of the interstate when I’m using the entrance ramp … thanks Mom!

  2. Nancy

    What a lovely chest and so many treasures. I like the vintage suitcases too. 🙂
    I’m in the midst of purging, once again. haha
    I’ve had two childhood sachets. One was mine, one was my beloved Auntie Joyce’s. They still smell the same. I too used to use those magazine/perfume thingys, before I became so sensitive. I also used to put cinnamon sticks in a spice jar, with the holes open to the air. Now I’m wondering if that even worked! lol
    As far as visits…my mama used to visit a lot by way of coincidence or synchronicity of some sort…and I’d say, “Hi mom”. She has visited that way in a while…but she is in my dreams almost every night.
    Also, in just the past few days, I’ve been seeing shadows moving out of the corner of my eyes…like what those TV shows he watches call ‘shadow people”. It just feels human. I haven’t quite figured it out, but I have noticed. Not unsettling, more curious.

    1. deemallon Post author

      Those were good sachets then because many lose their scent after a number of years. Do you write down your dreams? How fascinating (but perhaps not surprising?) that you are dreaming of your mom. I’m glad the shadows aren’t unsettling.

  3. Tina

    A chest of treasures in a treasured chest .. filling all your senses with treasured memories. Thank you for sharing!! When my MIL was dying although we had never really been very close I had so much love possess me that I got into to bed with her and running my hands through her hair I sang to her and over and over again told her how much I loved her. That evening after she passed I felt the presence of my FIL who I adored .. it was then that I realized it wasn’t me but his spirit that gave her all that love. It’s one of those things I’ll never forget .. and will forever be grateful for .. a treasured memory.

  4. Marti

    Your blanket chest has been a gift for when I saw the Order of the Arrow patch, I called my husband over. He grew up in a Catholic orphanage in Minnesota but it was a kind one and had an established Boy Scout troop. He too had an Oder of the Arrow so he was moved to see the patch. He does not speak much of this time from the age of 3 until the age of 14 when he went to live with his brother in California. He has spoken many times, however, of his good experiences with the Boy Scouts.

    Your Newgrange cloth is an incredible, sacred treasure. It could simply go on a wall as is, mounted on a cured tree branch to honor its ancient spirit. Needs nothing else for it holds such deep mystery and myth telling which leads me to…

    I grew up in a family of dream interpreters, curanderas, strong Spanish Catholicism as well as pagan beliefs so as to your question of hearing from those who have passed:

    Well. yes, from fleeting impressions of a few dear friends who have passed, usually on their birthdays to concrete visualizations of my dearly loved Dad, who is always with me, his image so clear, his voice so robust, his smile, like the sun.

    I was with both parents when they passed so I believe that this established a forever link although, in the case of my Mom, her presence does not manifest in the same way or with the same frequency. I tend to hear her voice rather than see a clear image. Still, her voice comes when I am puzzling over life incidents and surprises me with its comfort.

    I’ve only strongly felt my sister a few times, once very clearly in a vision where she waved from afar and said she was fine…she had a unique voice and in the first years of her passing, I would hear it but now, after 8 years, there is silence. We grew apart, I was not involved in her life in a consistent way for many years but as I feel with others, on her birthday in August, the air stirs and sometimes, I feel as if I am hugged; other times, the air is cold… I used to think that I was imagining, conjuring up these experiences but now, I do not question but accept all of this is how it goes for me.


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