Grandmom’s Hope Chest

My relationship with my grandmother had a great impact on me from the time I was a little girl until the day she passed away. Often I look back and reminisce on grandmom’s wisdom and strength. When you hear the word grandmom, do you think of a second-in-charge mom, that holds you close to her heart and loves you unconditionally? Was she the one you would run to for comfort? Do you miss her like crazy? Do you talk to her like she is with you now?

It’s when she’s gone that she becomes a very important part of your life.   Why don’t we realize how insightful our grandmothers really were until it is too late….or is it?

My grandmother taught me more than any scholastic book ever could. She gave me an education in life. I don’t profess to be a domestic diva by any means. However, grandmom showed me how to cook traditional Italian foods, how to clean, wash clothes and hang them out on the line. Breathing in I can still smell the scent of freshly hung linens. She told me stories about the good old days when families ate together, played games, listened to the radio, danced, told jokes and really laughed.  I learned a lot from my maternal grandmother that was the oldest of 10 children and only had a second grade education.

One day when I was visiting, grandmom she greeted me with a big smile and, “how you doing Sherrie (that was my nickname back then). Come on upstairs, I want to show you something.” Dutifully I followed her to the spare bedroom. When we got inside the room I asked her what we were looking at. She pointed to a cedar chest. She said, “Look Sherrie, this is my hope chest. See what’s inside. When I was a young girl, it was a tradition to have a hope chest that contained a trousseau that was a collection by the bride taken with her when she married.” Fixing my attention on the hope chest, I was excited that there was an accumulation of her best embroidered linens, crocheted table clothes, blankets and other momentous handed down from her grandmother and mother.

Suddenly I felt enchanted. “Sherrie, you know I’m an old lady. I want you to have this when I’m gone.” I smiled so wide and hugged her. “Gladly I will,” I said. “I will cherish all the memories tucked away inside this hope chest forever.”

After that, I didn’t think too much of it until just the other day I started looking for my scrapbooking materials. I opened the chest and the smell of cedar penetrated my senses. I dug down into the chest searching through until I came across some crocheted blankets and linens that I know grandmom loved so much. I sat on the floor and just thought about her for a few minutes and remembered the time she told me she wanted me to have this chest. I found my scrapbooking stuff and closed the lid thinking how blessed I am to have had a grandmother like her.