"This fog is thick as peanut butter."

"You mean pea soup."

"You eat what you like and I'll eat what I like!"

- Yukon Cornelius and Hermey the Elf

Monday, August 07, 2006

Of Love and War

As some of you know, my family is currently in the process of cleaning out my paternal Grandmother's house, and unearthing many memories in the process. I wanted to share the most recent find with everyone because accompanying it is a great story and a little bit of history.

My grandparents courted and married during the course of World War II. Grandpa served in the army in the South Pacific and Grandma had to wait several long years for him to return home. And this, my friends, is the Lane Cedar Chest that Grandpa surprised her with while he was home on leave at Christmas, 1943.

Inside, the contents still smell strongly of cedar and are moth-free as promised.

What knitter doesn't recognize the value of a "Moth Insurance Policy"?!

All the paperwork was still intact, including this note from Lane
Dear Friend:
If the world were at peace this tag would be a small envelope...and in it would be your own personal key to your Lane Cedar Chest.

But today there are vital uses for the metals we would use for keys and locks. You'll note that your Lane Cedar Chest has a handsome VICTORY catch in place of the metal lock we used to use. It has been designed so that after Victory is won, a regular lock can be easily installed.

Please don't order a lock now. Wait until the war is won, Then for a small charge you may have a real Lane patented lock...and the key we couldn't send you now.


Yours for Victory,
Lane Cedar Chests

Many treasures were to be found inside - here are just a few.

A handknit child's sock, knit the same way as the socks I recently learned to make!

Lots of yarn, including this:

it's not all that fun to touch - pretty scratchy - but the colors are so intriguing to me. I can't stop peeking at them. And Dude! It's "mothproof" and "tangle-proof"!

But even more special, was Grandpa's hat.

And the orchid corsage he sent home to his sweetheart at New Years.

Mom has been taking small treasures she finds to the nursing home to show Grandma. While Grandma remembers every item, some of them she hasn't seen in many years. When the hat was brought out, Grandma took it and held it tenderly, got a little teary-eyed, then put the hat on and grinned at us.

It was the cedar chest that made her even more emotional. Imagine during war-time, and for a young couple just starting out with few possessions, what a huge gift that cedar chest was. She said she found it under the tree at her mother's house on Christmas morning, all wrapped up in red ribbon. It was a complete and utter surprise. The ribbon remains carefully wrapped up and saved in the chest for more than 60 years.


At 11:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful cedar chest and a beautiful story behind it. I love the part where she put your grandpa's hat on. Sounds like something my grandmother would have done! I told Mom about the cedar chest and she said that the one she has of my grandmother's is also a Lane cedar chest. I'll take a pic of it the next time I visit J.C. Also checked out the ITMFA website. What a great website. I really want a t-shirt. By the way, my sunflowers a bloomin' like crazy. There are 5 or 6 blooms on each one with more to come out. God, they are gorgeous. I'm so proud of them!

Hugs, Lula's Mom

At 8:52 AM, Anonymous kathyjh said...

hi, l.m. it's my understanding that lane put out a different chest every year. the same chest no doubt but the outside is a laminate over the cedar and the pattern changed yearly. will be interesting to see what your grandmother's looked like. does your mom know the year it was made?

you'll have some happy birds when those sunflowers ripen. :)

thanks for these wonderful pics and writeup, wen. you think we should discuss the creative ways your grandfather earned a little extra $$ while in the pacific war?

btw, i hope lane is not making a similar offer on a key during our current 'war'. folks will be waiting a lot longer than the age of your grandmother's trunk to get one.


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