My parents moved into the house, me as a toddler in tow, in 1964.
As my dad lived there until just a few days before he passed away, I am sure you can imagine the accumulated stuff after 52 years!
|My childhood home's front door in the 1960s|
This was our third session at the house, sorting through mountains of paperwork, getting rid of things like out of date medicines and most of my dad's clothes, as well as emptying drawers full of assorted junk.
Odd socks, candle ends, broken Christmas ornaments, boxes full of picture postcards, half-finished crosswords and scribbled notes: what are they but sad reminders of a lifetime of day-to-day living, carelessly abandoned or saved for the rainy day which will now never come.
Being of the sentimental kind, there are some things, valueless at first sight, which I am keeping, even if purely for their vintage appeal.
These booklets of stamps were the loyalty cards of their generation. The stamps were obtained when one bought certain products at the corner shop, and they were kept in a silver and blue Tetley's tea tin, until my mum had saved enough. In my mind's eye I can still see us, my mum and I, sitting at the dining table, diligently sticking the stamps into the booklets. Full booklets were saved up until November, when my mum used them to buy us the presents Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas, who is the primary source of the popular Christmas icon of Santa Claus, and who is celebrated on December 6th) supposedly brought us.
|Me with "Sinterklaas" in 1968|
These booklets somehow never got filled, but they're part of my childhood memories, so I'm definitely keeping them.
And how could I throw out these unused vintage Christmas cards?
When we were emptying one of the cupboards in my parents' bedroom, we found three boxes of baby shoes, one for each of us. These were mine. How poignant that, scuffed and whitened to within an inch of their lives, and minus their shoe-laces, they have lived, forgotten, at the back of this cupboard all this time.
|My paternal grandmother and me in my grandparents' garden|
They are probably the very same shoes I am wearing in this photo.
This framed certificate is proof that I was baptized, and the little card was my birth announcement.
My sister was about to throw out these hatpins, when I realized my mum must have worn these on her wedding day, as they are covered in the fabric of her wedding dress and hat.
Although there are only black and white photographs of my parents' wedding, I remember my mum's wedding dress, which for a long time she kept in her wardrobe. I have no idea what happened to it, but I'm sure that it was long gone when, after my mum died, my dad got rid of all her clothes.
I also kept two pairs of my mum's glasses and her rosary beads, which will find a home in this gorgeous vintage tin.
The same cupboard revealed a tattered carton filled with odds and ends, among which these pocket watches were hiding. They aren't in the best of condition, but will get a place in Jos's small collection.
The small gold toned one is in working order, but is missing its glass cover. It's got a gorgeous porcelain dial.
The one at the bottom, although it's missing one of its hands and its glass is a little scratched, is a "Roskopf", and might be worth having repaired.
I'm guessing the bowler hat which Jos is modelling belonged to my paternal grandfather. It could be the one he is wearing in the photo below, but I'm not sure.
As it is quite exquisitely lined, it could have belonged to my great uncle Joseph, who was married to my grandmother's sister Josephine, as they were quite well off.
The thought of them always makes me smile. Joseph and Josephine: could there ever have been a better match?
|My grandfather (left) with his father-in-law, late 1930s|
A satisfying Sunday afternoon was spent sorting through it all, wondering at the items' history and their original purpose, and I've now got every conceivable colour of yarn and enough pins, bias binding and assorted trimmings to last me a lifetime!
“Sometimes you have to travel back in time, skirting the obstacles, in order to love someone.”
― Frances Mayes, Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir