Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Relics Of The Past

If I were going to live to see Toby and Josie to adulthood, I'd save everything - their baby clothes, their artwork, even some of their feeding bottles and dishes. I know Tony won't hold on to these things for the kids after I'm gone. It'll be too hard trying to move all this stuff around whenever they move to a new house.

My father is a bit like me, or, I should say, I'm like him - a bit sentimental. The most precious gifts I have from him are a drawing that I did in kindergarten, which he'd kept for me all these years, and some tape recordings of me when I was about six years old. I love it that he kept those for me. They mean more to me than any gifts I've ever received.

I'd like to do the same for Josie and Toby. I want to save their artwork. Tony says I should just choose a few drawings, but I've already tried selecting some and I just can't bring myself to throw anything out.

Some of the things I did give away, I'm now regretting. For example, my wedding dress. It wasn't a proper wedding dress. It was an off-the-rack dress I wore to the little religious ceremony we had at my brother's house for the sake of my religious family. He's a pastor so he conducted the service. Anyway, that dress went to the Salvation Army, along with a bunch of other clothes I figured I'd never wear again. But now I wish I'd kept it for Josie.

But then I wonder if I'm leaving behind things that Toby and Josie will just consider junk someday. I might think these things have special meaning, but what if Josie and Toby just feel obligated to keep them out of guilt?

I, for one, would be tickled to see the remnants of my baby and childhood days, especially everyday items such as my feeding bowls and baby clothes. I see photos of some of the outfits I wore as a very young child and I feel as if I remember them. Some of them are so timeless, I think Josie would wear them now if I still had them.

One of my favorite articles of clothing ever was a thin red cardigan that my mother used to wear when she was in college. I got hold of it during my college days and wore it all the time. There was nothing special about it - just an ordinary, plain cardigan. But I just loved the fact that it had been my mother's. I can't find it now and I'm bummed. I wish I could leave it for Josie.

Do you wish you could see some relics of your childhood days? The clothes you wore? Your favorite toys? Favorite books? Your first feeding dish and spoon? Maybe someday your own kids will be curious about these things as well. You should set aside some of these things to present to your kids when they're adults; they might get a kick out of them. Who knows? They might even be able to use them for their own kids.


lisacc said...

Well I have first hand experience of this one! I was amazed and very moved to find out how much of all my old schoolbooks, art, even university work that my mother had stored away for me. Plus endless letters - ones to me, and even ones that I had written to my grandmother, which my grandmother had kept and were returned to my parents when she died.

My mother had even kept a few clothes with sentimental value. There's a baby dress, and my bridesmaid dress from my uncle's wedding, and a smocked dress she made me. Some of these things, especially the schoolwork, I really wish I had looked at with her before she died.

Drawings are quite easy and small to store - you can put them all in a folder. In terms of old schoolwork - your two are very young, but it's the essay/English lesson books that are the most interesting - "what I did in the holidays" etc. I found that my brother wrote some really mean things about me when he was about seven! But there were nice memories too, trips to Granny's house and so on.

Obviously you will keep all the photos, but do make sure you get some printed out, because looking at an album is so different to digital photos, and photos get so easily lost on old hard drives when you change computers and so on. Particularly fascinating to your kids will be any photos of you as a child and a teenager.

The items that didn't interest me so much were christening things - those pointless silver mugs that no child ever gets to use, and never really knows about because they're tucked away safely in drawers and so on. I have no emotional connection with those things at all.

Anonymous said...

My mum kept her old wedding dress and evening dress for me. Her wedding dress was yellow and the design was old fashioned. Her evening dress was a long flowing empire line dress in vibrant orange - which i took the fabric and made it into a short strapless dress that I wore during my tea ceremony. It's a really special dress. When I chose my wedding dress, I made sure I chose (what I thought) was a really timeless design, which I will hand to my daughter when she gets married. (she's just turned 2) hopefully my version of "timeless fashion" equals HER idea of "timeless fashion" in 20-30 years time! It doesn't have to be a wedding dress that you keep for Josie but any special evening dress/cocktail dress even. I would have LOVED mum's old 1960s dresses if she had kept any for me!

Other things that I (another sentimental nut) would have liked would be things that I had done as a kid with my parents. Eg I would have LOVED it if my mum had left me a blog like yours. more pictures perhaps?? ;)
take care shin

Linda said...

My ma had kept my school reports books. They state my school results, what the teacher thought of me in school, what I could improve on etc.

What made them so worth treasuring is not the physical item itself, but the memories that came with it. Over time, we get lost in our daily lives and it takes the sight of these 'relics' to re-live the past.

I remembered my mum asking my eldest brother what the teacher meant when she wrote "...shown initiative..." in my report book. And my brother told her, "Oh, means she is kaypoh (nosey) lah." I was SO angry then, but looking back, I was really quite a nosey fellow.

I kept some of my girl's drawings, especially those on the family, folded up nicely. I have a Ikea carton box for that. But I reckon will have to "upsize" it soon. There is a cute little dress she wore for her one month old celebration, her dried umbilical cord, her first-trimmed finger and toe nails, a tiny little romper because it was "very-her" among others.

Much said, it was only when I became a mother that I started getting all sentimental regarding stuff from my childhood, be it physical items or stories about my younger days. Reckon it takes a mother to understand another mother.

Chrissy said...

Out of curiosity, what did your non-traditional wedding dress look like?


Shin said...


It was ankle-length, sleeveless, slim-fitting and sheath-like, dark turquoise-sliverish in color with outer layer of transparent silk, little bit of beige lace edging at neck line. Nothing special, other than the context. I have photos of it.

Chrissy said...

Don't get mad...

Your wedding dress is safe in CT, waiting for Josie when she is older.

When I was visiting you were getting rid of things and had me try them on. Nothing fit but I kept one anyway. Not for me, for Josie.

My mom was always upset that she didn't have her mom's wedding dress and I didn't want that for Josie. So I took it and I've been keeping it safe and sound.

She'll have it whenever you want her to.



Shin said...


Oh! Bless you, bless you, BLESS YOU! I'm so pleased you kept it. What great foresight! Thank you so much for thinking of Josie. And I was sure I'd never see that dress again. I was so sad about that. You've given me AND Josie a wonderful gift by keeping that dress. Thanks SO much, Chrissy. You're a life-saver!