To be fair, this wasn’t exactly a difficult project. Essentially, I bought something and put things in it. But I am pleased with the results and intend to share them. And sulk if no-one likes it.
At home I have two large, wooden chests full of family and personal memorabilia. The kind of things you can’t really do anything with, but which you would never dream of throwing away. My great-grandmother’s toy tea-set. My sea-captain grandad’s papers with lists of his ships and his qualifications. My school magazines. My first birthday cards. Flyers from old concerts and university balls.
When we moved to this house and found ourselves with a lot more space, I decided that it was time that some of these things saw light of day, rather than languishing out of sight. My first idea was to make memory jars. I saw these in a magazine a few months ago – the writer kept small items from each holiday she took and stored them in old-fashioned jars. This website contains similar ideas.
I used three large jars from Ikea and used one to store “old” things, another for my items from my own lifetime, and a third for things collected during our family life, the idea being to add to this last jar on an ongoing basis. The jars are currently being used as bookends and while I like them, there are items in the “old things” jar that are rather lost in the tangle of bits and pieces.
While browsing for something unrelated on ebay, I came across multiple listings for these old printers drawers. They tend to sell for around £20 each and are essentially storage trays with lots of different sized spaces, once used for storing the letter templates used in the printing process.
I bought one a while ago and this weekend I finally got round to putting it to its intended use as a display case for some of those little family items. This is the end result. Among the things that have found a home here is a sewing bodkin that belonged to my great-grandmother, a seamstress, the first present my granddad gave to my gran, a four-leafed clover I found as a small child, the pen presented to my granddad when he took the captaincy of the biggest merchant ship in the UK, my mum’s pilot’s wings and various other bits and pieces.
So there we go – a completed and recorded project. Now I just need to get on with the other major family history task – the giant family tree. Watch this space....