I took this photo from my study desk, looking out into the hall. I bought the old printer’s tray from a quilt shop that was closing down and filled it with objects that were memorable to me and told a story.
I included some one and two cent coins – brown cents, we called them as kids. My siblings and cousins would save them up to use as currency to play card games like poker and gin rummy at my maternal grandparents’ house every school holidays. We would drink red cordial and eat Nana’s cream cheese lattice biscuits – I still have the recipe. I’m not sure that teaching kids to play cards with money is socially acceptable now but at the time, it was a holiday highlight.
I added some sewing needles from my paternal grandmother who helped teach me to sew. (I have finished my little sewing pouch and I’m now on to hand quilting a wall hanging). I have a few buttons from my grandfather’s cardigan – you know, the old fashioned brown ones with woven ends tucked in.
There’s the little round tin with Shakespeare’s face on it that I bought from Stratford-upon-Avon because I loved studying Shakespeare plays at school and university.
There’s a couple of tiny wooden pots and pans, because I love cooking. Oh, the stories I could tell from all the meals and baking I’ve provided … as we all could.
And here’s a story – my maternal grandmother, my Nana Wyn, was given a tiny blue perfume bottle from her mother-in-law for Christmas. The card is quite formal but a bottle of perfume, Evening in Paris, is such a generous gift. Now what sort of relationship was that? The bottle still has some perfume left.
The tiny pink shells come from a small town called Port Macquarie on the coast of New South Wales. I spent many holidays there as a kid, and I’ve never seen those pink shells anywhere else. I used to keep them in a glass jar on my wooden shelves as a kid, and add to them every year.
The business card represents a new life where I could care for my babies at home and work in their afternoon naps and bedtimes. I count that story as one of my most challenging yet rewarding stories.
And you see that green wooden frog with the crown on his head? That story is a romantic one. Once when I was deep in the teenage mire of unrequited love, my wise Mum told me that I’d have to kiss a lot of frogs before I could kiss a prince. Luckily for me, I married my prince almost twenty years ago after a few frogs came and went.
I am a collector of stories – my own and others – and this printer’s tray is a visible reminder from my desk that our stories matter immensely.