Most everything in my apartment is a second-generation antique – and truly priceless.
I remember seeing Daddy empty out his pockets into a wood tray on the top of the maple chest of drawers that now holds my clothes. I see my infant daughter, frog-like little belly and long tiny legs, smiling up at me from its padded surface as I changed her diapers. For the seven years we lived in a small one-bedroom apartment, I saw Sharon’s collection of model horses on it and, later, her first jewelry box, which I have “inherited” and have used as my own for twenty years or so.
I used a small white bookcase to old the books and novels that shaped my teenage dreams of being a writer. Within a few short years, Sharon used it as her vertical toy chest, too. She adorned both sides and two shelves with her first Crayola mural, which will be there when she inherits my priceless antiques one day.
Today, my grandson’s plastic monster trucks, coloring books, and the Nana’s house branch of their personal library fill the by-now wobbly shelves.
A focal point in my front room is a three-generation antique. My Mom told me she and Daddy purchased the wooden toy chest on lay-away when my older brother and I were both small. I saw that toy chest in my childhood home my entire life, long after my brother, younger by six years, outgrew it. I understand why Mom kept it as an integral part of the furnishings. It keeps memories of your children as toddlers warm and close to your heart.
Because my Sharon was the first grandchild, she got to put her xylophone, Fisher Price telephone, and stuffed giraffe in it. And, I, too, kept it as part of the furnishings until it had to go into storage for two years when I relocated.
The hinged lid style was declared unsafe many years ago by the wonderful folks who check the safety of toys. So, it now holds cherished mementos of I have of my Dad – his old hunting cap, one of the many baseball trophies he and my two brothers accumulated, a notepad and sunglass case that resided in his shirt pocket, and one shotgun shell.
I have it turned around and the lid safely secured so my grandsons cannot open it. They gleefully use it as their table when they visit Nana.
The mere presence of that little toy chest fills me with the warmth and security and love that my Dad radiated as he sat in his recliner, and we three kids lay on the floor around his feet, watching Westerns on TV. Yes, my antiques are truly, truly beyond price.