Friday, December 05, 2014

When Old Things Speak

I have an old square wooden box which contains a small drawer.  The top lifts up and contains a mirror (speckled with age).  The mirror can be propped against the raised lid and, presto, you have a makeup table!

The mirror, with small bone knobs on the lid and the drawer, is probably from the nineteenth century.  It looks like early Empire but is probably later since it's rural carpentry.  I saved money for a long time as a student to buy it, for some reason I no longer remember.  I keep my embroidery thread in it.

The reason for this post:  I finally cleaned it in a deeper sense than usual, and turned the drawer over.  The bottom has faint text in Finnish.  This is my translation:

I wish I were able to write with golden letters deep inside your heart these few words:  Mari, do not forget me.
What lies behind that is a mystery.  Was the box an engagement gift, made by the groom for the bride?  Or something sadder?  A farewell gift?

This is why I find old things fascinating.  They are records of lives, not that different from our lives.