April 30, 2014

In The Chest - All The Special Things

For my 18th birthday, my parents gave me an antique wooden chest. I had always loved chests. (The kind you put things in, not the kind that grow hair and nipples [though, you know, they're good too].) This one had several compartments, including a secret drawer and a hidden shelf. It was magnificent.

Over the years, I put all my special things in that chest. Love letters from my boyfriends and future husband. ID badges from my jobs. The program from the Young Talent Time concert I went to with my sister. My Brownie Guide Manual. The edition of TV Week I featured in after my short lived career as an actress. Broken watches and pieces of jewelry and notes from my friends and a dozen or more handwritten journals.

My life was in that chest.

This is not my chest (or phone, or plant, or truck) but it's very similar indeed

The chest followed me wherever I went. Once I was married, I pretty much stopped adding to it, but the chest lived contentedly at the end of our bed, often covered with clothes or blankets or a pile of books.

When I moved out of my marital home last year, the chest moved with me. There was no room for it in my current bedroom, so I put it out in the lounge room. But the idea of my most personal, private possessions being out in the lounge room made me feel too intensely vulnerable. The thought that one of my kids or their friends could rummage through that chest, sifting through my woeful poems and diarized confessions and proclamations of unrequited love was just too agonizingly hideous to contemplate.

It was time for the chest to give up its contents, and be put to use for some other purpose.

I transferred all my papers and books and treasures into an air-tight plastic wheelie, which now lives in the back of the store room. The chest is now filled with DVDs and strange power cords and random fragments of technology that I am too scared to discard. It is a platform for Lego and My Little Ponies and pillows and the cat, and is battered and weathered and chipped.

But I love that chest, and it will always be with me. And one day, I want it to live on in the home of my eldest daughter.

As for the wheelie bin of memories, well, the idea of someone looking at them is still too hideous to contemplate. Then again, there's an amazing Young Talent Time program there that someone will really love... and an ID badge from David Jones that's kind of cute... and some airmail letters from my ex boyfriend R that are really very special...

Think I'm just going to pop down to the storeroom for a while....


  1. Lovely, Kerri! (my things are scattered in different places - bedside tables, filing cabinets, etc - it is so special to keep them, isn't it?). Enjoy the greater prominence of your chest (trying to think of a better way to phrase this, but you know what I mean).

    And how lucky are you to have a YTT program? I only have the memory of what should have been. I was in the audience with a group of friends and actually ON TV for a microsecond (apparently - I never saw it). Dad was entrusted to record it for all the families on those new fangled VCR things, but got caught out by the 24 hour clock and STUFFED UP THE RECORDING!!! For a 10 yr old out to impress said friends, something that has never been forgotten. (in most other respects a great dad, but grrr ...)

  2. That is great. I wish I had a chest of treasures. xo

  3. In the end it doesn't really matter where you keep the memories, it's having them that counts. It's great to make the chest part of everyday life and letting it add to the memories as well as containing them. I have one that sits in my fire place, rarely opened these days but so comforting to have.

  4. Hey... never to late to start collecting...

  5. I'm having a huge tidy-out and rediscovering all sorts of things I had almost forgotten about. The programme from my year 12 river cruise...Letters from my grandfather in Germany... my teddy bear...

  6. Hours can be spent (I won't say "wasted" because I don't believe they are wasted) going through our personal mementos, photos, letters etc., etc., et al. One can become lost amongst the horde of wonderful memories...I know I can quite easily do so, speaking for myself.

    A lovely chest to be cherished forever......

  7. Exactly (very sad) - although, to be fair, not as exciting as appearing in TV Week!


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