Posted by Naomi Finch at 26/09/2012 10:16:50
Isn't it funny the things people keep, either as keepsakes or because they “may come in handy”?
The other day, in the bottom drawer of Gramps' bookcase I found, amongst other strange and very old things, a bag of old knitting and crochet needles. Some were even in their original paper packaging from the 1940s. Now, I know Gramps has never had a penchant for knitting or crocheting. So I was curious as to how he came to have them – and why he still had them in 2012?
He told me they belonged to his mother, which shouldn't have surprised me as some of his furniture belonged to her too. Like the dressing table in his bedroom which still holds a cut glass trinket tray and an empty perfume atomiser sat on one of the lace doilies. I do chuckle as I clean it every week, as it looks so out of place in a man’s room. However, it does make me stop for a moment and remember her, and other lost loved ones, so it serves at least one purpose. She too lived to a ripe old age. I think I was about four when she passed away. I do remember that she lived with Gramps and Grandma, or did they live with her? I'm not actually sure. I'll have to ask him about that one. He was an only child, which I think was fairly unusual for his generation, hence he has her possessions.
Anyway, back to the knitting needles. Gramps couldn't recall a time when he had ever needed to use them, at least in the last 30 years anyway. But he maintained that they may yet come in handy. What for, though, he couldn't say. But he told me I should put them back where I found them, unless I wanted to use them (er, no thanks Gramps). What is it that makes someone keep something so useless to them? Is it a man thing, a generation thing or sentimentality? I suspect all three in Gramps’ case.
I also came across another keepsake of Gramps, which was very personal to me. One I didn’t even know about. In fact Gramps had forgotten about it, until he re-read it. In a tatty, brown, fusty smelling envelope I found a letter to Gramps from the local newspaper dated July 1969. It was from the editor advising him that he regretted that he couldn't accept his submission for publication and was returning it to him. Reading on I realised it was a poem, and it was about me.
"Address to a newborn grandchild
1st July 1969.
No bannered trumpets' strident call for you, the day a prince was crowned.
No thousands there, but those who saw, comment you proudly held your day.
Yes, you gave voice, proclaimed your liege, around a crown of jewels soft and tender, seen in their eyes of azure, vert and gules.
Upon your cheek, your hands albeit unconsciously, held twixt theirs, was placed a kiss of sweet parental fealty, to symbolise for everyone your guidance and protection.
No great speech within those walls of mellowed stones wherein began the lives of many, but in one accord of many tongues they say, Amen, a princess for our home."
How proud must he have been on the day I was born! And what a shame it was never published and has been kept in a draw for the last 43 years. Well, it’s published now Gramps! I don’t even know what some of the words mean, but I understand the sentiment completely. I’m going to type it up and frame it as a keepsake. Call me sentimental, but I may even use the knitting needles to make the frame.