Monday, July 30, 2012

Bits and Pieces: Aunt Leeza's Box



I was perhaps 12 years old when Big Mama gave me this 'jewelry' box as she called it.  I loved it right away just because it was old and Big Mama had a habit of giving me things that had belonged to others and had some special meaning for herself.   This box was Aunt Leeza's.  I am spelling her name phonetically at the moment because I'm not sure how it was actually spelled.  I was given several of Aunt Leeza's things because, as Big Mama put it, "She was so taken with you."

Aunt Leeza was my great great great great aunt and I did indeed meet her once when I was perhaps 5 or 6.  I clearly remember meeting her at Big Mama's home.  I was sort of 'taken' with her too, firstly because she was without a doubt the tiniest adult I'd ever met.  Second because she was dressed in a pale blue peignoir that was without a doubt the finest and most beautiful nightgown I'd ever seen outside of a magazine.  And third, because she was so very old.  I'm not just sure why Aunt Leeza was with Big Mama.  She lived in Montezuma and I suppose she'd been ill, though I recall her as smiling and happy that day I visited.

Aunt Leeza died shortly after and hers was the first funeral I attended.  I recall going down to Montezuma with Mama and Granny to clear out some things in her tiny little house and taking them back to Big Mama's. 
 Big Mama kept all those things stored in a huge old trunk in her front bedroom and it was my great pleasure to 'plunder' and look through that trunk, which Big Mama allowed.  I am sure at one time this box was also in that trunk.  I thought it the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen and I especially loved it for the picture on the front of it.  You see...even in my youth I was taken with hay bales in a field!

 This is the mirror inside the lid.  Isn't it lovely?  I used this box as my jewelry box for years and years and then used it to keep the most precious things I owned.  Things like the first hair lock cut from my babies' heads and the first tooth they lost and the little bracelets they wore at the hospital when they were born and a few other little items that were given to me by my children and the children of friends.
The detailed carving is really quite beautifully done isn't it?  My box is missing a foot on the back side but I've loved this box for years on end.  It wasn't until the past couple of years that I found a second box...and then I saw a third and fourth, though I didn't buy those.  A friend also had several in her home and she told me they were candy boxes!  Can you imagine getting a box of chocolates in such a nice keepsake box?  That would be a real treasure indeed wouldn't it?

I was given many items over my young years from my family that really helped me form a connection to family roots, either in form of objects that belonged to someone or through stories.  I've said many times I felt especially grounded and blessed in family in those days and I believe it's because of things like this box being in my possession.  Perhaps that is why I so love history and am so enjoying tracing out family genealogy lines now.

4 comments:

Jennifer Tower said...

wow, seeing your box, reminded me of mine!! I have one just like this only with a different picture on the top!!! Love it!

Tracy said...

I can't believe that treasured jewelry box was once a candy box! That is amazing! Enjoyed reading about your memories of Aunt Leeza. :)

Deanna said...

What a treasure! I had a very dear great aunt who loved to give her things to people she cared about. I feel privileged to have an antique hurricane lamp, glass butter churn and a few other items which had been in her family. These things are precious indeed.

IM said...

Here in Canada, carved cedar boxes were initially sold filled with stationary!