Janet's Memory Box open100_1321Janet's memory box open

Who Has Grandma’s Wedding Dish?

When I graduated from high school, Grandma gave me a small cut-glass bowl. “This was one of our wedding gifts,” she said. “I want you to have it.”

My grandparents celebrated their fiftieth anniversary three months after my graduation, and I treasured that dish as a symbol of their lives together. I placed it safely in my “hope chest” for the home I hoped to have some day.

That day came, and my grandmother’s dish went to my new home with me. Years passed, and I became concerned about my pretty glass dish. I knew it had been my grandparents’ wedding gift, but what would become of it after I was gone? Would it be set on a table at public auction, to be sold to the highest bidder for a few dollars?

My husband and I looked around the house and saw many of our cherished possessions that would be practically worthless on an auction table. “This is Grandpa’s shaving brush,” my husband said. “I want to give it to Bill (our son).”

What about my first grade readers—those old Dick and Jane books with stories of “Run, Spot, Run? There was my mother’s fountain pen that she used in high school, and my great-grandmother’s book of Bible readings.

We wanted our family to appreciate these old things and pass them on to their children. We knew if we just handed over the books, brushes, and dishes, future generations would not always remember where they came from. Our solution was to turn them into unique Christmas gifts for our sons and daughters.

Memory Boxes

My husband likes to work with wood, so he made a beautiful handcrafted memory box for each child. The oak, cherry, and walnut boxes are about 12 by 18 inches and six inches deep.

While he made boxes, I planned what to put in them. I wandered through the house and gathered up the special things we wanted to pass on the children—my well-worn copy of Little Women, the little red coats my mother-in-law crocheted for our girls, and Grandpa’s pocketknife.  I placed them in a large cardboard box. By the time I finished, I had a note on every item with the information I knew about its history. Two or three generations from now, our descendents can look at grandmother’s dish and know it was her wedding gift in 1903.

If you would like my husband’s instructions for making memory boxes, click here Memory Box Instructions.

Next month I’ll tell about something else we included in the boxes.