October 23rd, 2020

A Happy Accident

I'm looking for coffee. We have coffee sent to us through the post and it's just possible we might have squirrelled some envelopes away in the plastic chest of drawers in the boiler room. I pull out a drawer: no coffee. I pull out another drawer: chest of drawers tips forward and comes apart...

The chest of drawers isn't broken. It'll fit back together again. The problem is that it's a lightweight unit and we're storing heavy duty foodstuffs in it. We briefly consider replacing it, but decide we'd be better off redistributing the contents and using it for lighter stuff. We're not short of storage space- we're just not using what we have efficiently. There is, for example, a big bookcase cum bureau in the living room with capacious drawers half full of memorabilia- and not even my mother's memorabilia but my grandmother's.

The foodstuffs will go into the very solid chest of drawers in the dining room- which is currently full of paper- and the paper will go into the living-room bureau- and in the process a whole lot of stuff I've lacked the will to sort through is going to be thoroughly investigated and purged...

Going Through The Bottom Drawer

There are four drawers in the bookcase-cum-bureau. We'll start at the bottom.

This is a drawer into which my grandmother and mother have thrown things they didn't want to look at again but couldn't bear to part with.

These include:

All the letters of condolence my grandmother received on the death of my grandfather in 1939.

Several newspaper supplements relating to the death and burying of Winston Churchill- who was something of a family hero (but not to me. Stamp, pout!)

Letters home from two generations of kids who had been banged up in boarding schools- one of whom was myself. I remember having to write the damn things- arduously trying to be grown-up and entertaining and duly grateful for small benefits received, scraping round for news when there isn't really any (I'm at school and wish I wasn't) and avoiding any expression of real feeling. Looking through them is dispiriting. My mother's letters home are even duller than mine, my sister's a little livelier.

These things have hung around for long enough; I won't be passing them on to the next generation.

But I will be passing on the photographs of my great great great grandparents...