Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Story Telling Sunday - My Precious 10

Okay, I know it isn't Sunday. And I know I have the wrong week and am hopelessly late to the party. But in the interest of finishing out my 12 posts this year, I need to sneak this one in...

Hope Chests were historically used by young unmarried women and/or their families to collect clothing and household linens that would be needed by the young woman in anticipation of marriage. In the United States a hope chest was a traditional coming-of-age gift back in the 1950's.  It is still somewhat of a tradition in the southern states, but mostly has died out everywhere else. These days young women get everything they need for marriage via bridal registries.

The Lane Company of Altavista, Virginia began producing and distributing hope chests in 1912.  It was their practice, beginning in approximately 1930 to distribute miniature 12" long  cedar keepsake boxes to graduating high school girls as advertising gifts. And yes, that is where my love of hope chests began, with this little box:
I got this in 1979 when I was graduating high school. This little box still sits on my dresser and houses things like my tassle from law school graduation.  It was distributed by Panosian Home World, which appears to have gone out of business. The Lane Company was purchased in 1987 by hostile takeover and the plant closed in 2001. I guess that now makes these little Lane keepsake boxes a thing of the past.

In any event, the advertising worked because from the moment I got this little box, I longed for a real hope chest. Don't ask me why. I just know I wanted one. And eventually I got one - six years later, as a wedding gift from my mother:


This hope chest resides in my bedroom. It has never held household linens and clothing. Instead, it has been the repository for many keepsake items that I would never give up. And for the last two months of Story Telling Sunday, I'll be sharing with you some of the items tucked away in my hope chest.

By the way, the hope chest has also been a great bench for sitting on to tie shoes, or for stacking clean laundry until it gets puts away. It is unusual to be able to see the surface! :)


10 comments:

Jo said...

That is a beautiful hope chest and it's lovely to hear about the history of them x

Alison said...

The UK version of the Hope Chest was, I think, the Bottom Drawer...I remember that once we got engaged my mum and gran used to buy random things like tea towels and hand towelsf for me to put in it!..thanks for sharing yours and ffor bringing that memory back,
Alison xx

Sian said...

What a lovely, welcome surprise to see a Storytelling Sunday post today and with the promise of more to come? Perfect!

It's a beautiful piece: an heirloom!

alexa said...

Such a precious piece of furniture - and your little box is clearly of great value too. I love the name 'hope chest'. Here, we have a number of items which my female forbears made and embroidered for their trousseau - and I wish we had a precious chest to keep them in! Looking forward to seeing more ..

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

Oh that is so cool that you have a little mini chest! My mom gave my sister and I each a Lane hope chest for our high school graduations. A few years ago I passed mine on to Carrie because we inherited Doug's mother's cedar chest and didn't have room for both. I'll look forward to seeing what you have tucked inside...

Miriam said...

A Hope Chest is so much nicer than Bottom Drawer! Yours is very beautiful Cheri.

Candace said...

What a treat down memory "lane". I still have my mini hope chest that I received in 1964.

scrappyjacky said...

That is so lovely,Cheri.

Missus Wookie said...

Gorgeous hope chest and I think that mini would have inspired me too. Looking forward to the stories.

Melissa said...

What a beautiful hope chest - I'm looking forward to seeing what's inside!