A couple of years ago I tucked in some theatre tickets but the crisp digital print looks vulgar in comparison.
Most poignant has to be the bits of flower and fern pressed between so many pages. I would love to think this ages old lily was part of a bridal bouquet but it may very well have been part of a funeral wreath. My great-grandfather drowned while out in a canoe and his grandson died at the age of four, that death isn't explained.
Following the line of descendants backwards, I was able to pinpoint a man named Samuel who was born in 1678 and lived in or near Exeter, England. Woolcombing was named as a family occupation so it is fun to imagine that perhaps ancestral roots are calling this anglophile home, or responsible for the balls of wool stashed in my closet. He left England's shores for America in 1700, a journey the likes of which I can't even imagine. Samuel married a woman several years later with the family name of 'Sweet', delightfully one of her family members bore the name....wait for it....Valentine! How charming.
Flipping through pages of recorded births and deaths my heart broke for Samuel's grandson and his wife. Their two year-old son died on December 12, 1777 and then exactly one year later, to the day, another son was delivered stillborn or died later that day. What are the chances and how cruel is fate? It would be two and a half years before another baby was documented. It is also interesting but not unexpected to watch the number of children born to families dwindle from double digits to just one as in our case.
I can't imagine there will be very much guessing about my life required by my descendants, what I get up to on weekends or read before bed is on my blog. But how cool is it to have over 300 years of existence, concrete proof of a life lived before, stored cosily in my closet amongst my sweaters? It is both fantastic and humbling to play my part. As for that 'Watch and prey' mini-sampler, there is a great aunt who had a bear skin from her very own kill but she is from the other side of the family. And yes, despite the pretty shoes and Cath Kidston bags, I can stack a mean cord of wood.