3 May 2017

Box

We all have possessions. Even hermits and Buddhist monks have possessions. One of my most cherished belongings is a silver cigarette box. It was given to my mother on her wedding day in New Delhi, India on December 8th 1945. My father was also present at this happy occasion.

The silver-plated box, lined with cedar, was made in Delhi - no doubt by an Indian craftsman. On the top of it the following words were engraved:-

PRESENTED BY 
THE STAFF
GROUND TRAINING SECTION
HEADQUARTERS BASE AIR FORCES, SOUTH EAST ASIA
NEW DELHI
TO
CORPORAL DOREEN S. JACKSON W.A.A.F.
ON THE OCCASION OF HER MARRIAGE
8TH DECEMBER, 1945.

From time to time I polish this box. Between polishings it becomes rather tarnished so it's nice to see the bright silver re-emerging. Today I polished it once again and reflected on the fact that my parents' wedding day was almost seventy two years ago. Dad was thirty one and Mum was twenty four. 

World War II was over and it was almost time to return to England to resume civilian life. Fortunately, the Japanese never reached India but when my parents went out there as volunteers in The Royal Air Force, they had no idea what the next few years had in store for them. Like other young servicemen and women they did not know how the war would end.

They met and fell in love in Delhi. Mum worked in administration as the engraving on the box suggests. She was also the drum major of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force band. Dad was assigned to the meteorological department and in this role travelled throughout the Indian sub-continent.

I sincerely hope that this old silver cigarette box never ends up in a junk shop somewhere or sold for pocket money at a car boot sale. Instead, I hope that it is cherished by one of my children long after I have gone. 

34 comments:

  1. Lovely family memento.

    Alphie

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    1. What is your most treasured possession Alphie?

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  2. I have a feeling it will. Be cherished, I mean.
    There are some items in my family which were passed down from my grandparents and some even from their parents. We had to get rid of a lot of stuff when my Oma (Mum's Mum) died, but some things were kept and will hopefully remain in our family for many more years.

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    1. Of course we can't hang on to the past forever... but if we can stretch out the memories a few years more... then that's good.

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  3. These days marrying couples ask for money for the honeymoon and I am afraid these kinds of mementos/ heirlooms will go the way of the dodo, which would be a great pity.

    It's really shiny!

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    1. I used something called elbow grease to make it shine Kylie. Not many people give cigarette boxes as wedding presents these days.

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  4. That's an enviable memento to have YP. The closest to a treasured possession for me is my father's medals from WW2. All are only standard issue ones but they have a value to me.

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    1. I don't know what your father did in the war Derek but it's nice that you cherish the medals he earned for his service.

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  5. Just an ordinary soldier who joined the Buffs, aged 16, in about 1935 and served in the Middle East, Burma and Italy. Married my mother at Christmas 1943 and went AWOL for a week afterwards because he wanted a honeymoon.

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    1. Perhaps he was keen to create a Derek!

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    2. No,he created my sister first, who unfortunately died at a week old, I came a year later, in 1947.

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    3. May she rest in peace.

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  6. A wonderful story, Yorkie. I'm sure that beautiful, much-cherished memento will remain in your family for years and years to come. I certainly hope it does.

    It's funny...only last night I was thinking about a silver cigarette case my mother used to have (just a case, not a beautiful box such as yours)...I was wondering whatever happened to it. And, by coincidence, today, you write so lovingly about your parents and the cigarette box.

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    1. That is a little spooky isn't it Lee?

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  7. What a beautiful story and family heirloom. Surely one of your children will be happy to have it one day. Or maybe you can give to a grandchild one day in the distant future.

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    1. We don't see any grandchildren on the horizon... but you never know. It could happen.

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  8. I agree with the last paragraph YP. So many of my treasured possessions - not of much monetary value but very dear to me for various reasons - will no doubt be dispersed when I die and their memories will go with them. I find that sad - but inevitable.

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    1. But if just a handful of things could continue - succeeding us - that would be good. Wouldn't it?

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  9. This box certainly has meaning for you and relates to the history of your parents.

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    1. Yes it does. It is a tangible link to the past and to where I came from.

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  10. A beautiful memento, Mr. YP. I have china and glassware from my grandmother and some everyday cookware from my mother. It all gets used and to me, that is the best tribute to them.

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    1. I am honoured to have a visit from you "e". Pull up a chair and I shall pour you a cup of tea. Then we can gossip about Steve and mementos.

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  11. I don't know. Over the years circumstances have dictated that I have inherited a lot of stuff, heavily imbued with memories, and a sort of responsibility that goes with it. It's made me weary of it. I rather like the idea of being smudged out of history. If I had my way, when I die, I'd be cremated on a pile of everything I own, and I and it would be blown away on the wind. Pouf! Like I never existed. Does that make me weird?....

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    1. Not at all Wanda. It's an interesting and thought-provoking scenario. Thanks for painting that picture.

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  12. What a beautiful case, and you have kept it looking very nice. I hope you have family who will treasure it after you are gone, but you know, even if you don't -- if it goes to sale at auction or a second-hand store -- someone else will buy it with pleasure and it will be treasured by that person. Think of that unknown person as part of your "earthling" family :)

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    1. What a beautiful sentiment.

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    2. Yes. A thoughtful notion. A nice, alternative way of looking at inheritance.

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  13. What a wonderful, romantic story! What a time it was for everyone who was alive in 1945 and the years afterward. A wonderful moment to cherish. I have a few things that are too wonderful and mean so much to me. So, they are in my will that they must go to my children and never be just lost to time. And I know that my children will honor that request. But, since there are to be no grandchildren, they surly will be lost to time eventually.

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    1. I feel sad that you will never be a grandmother Donna. I think you and Big Bear would have made excellent grandparents. It is very possible that Shirley and I will also miss that boat.

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  14. Classy! Very classy

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    1. I guess I am. Sophisticated and suave. What about the box?

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  15. A nice story and one that prompted me to post about one of my very few family heirlooms.

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    1. Happy to have inspired you Ian.

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  16. I think that box is probably guaranteed a place in one of your children's lives. My brother still has a silver bowl presented to my grandmother when she retired. I'm not big on possessions, but some things must be saved!

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