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.
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.