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Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture your heart…old indian saying

Grandmothers Hope Chest

Grandma’s Hope Chest       To view Larger image click here

Memories of my mother’s mom are few, she died when I was five.  What I do remember is sitting at her kitchen table while she stirred a pot of chicken and dumplings; and lavender. I remember the smell of lavender when ever she hugged me. Strange isn’t it,  how a scent can trigger a memory?

When my grandmother died her hope chest went to my mother.  Made of walnut with a waterfall lid, it was inlaid with varying shades of wood in a diamond pattern. Handles on the sides of the chest and lid were beautifully hand carved. It was a true work of art. I can remember standing at the doorway to my mother’s bedroom watching her as she ran her hands over the wood lovingly as if to caress something, or someone.  Tears filling her eyes she turned to me and called me to her side.  As we both knelt before the chest my mother lifted the lid and the fragrance of cedar filled the air. Peeking over the top to have a look, my eyes filled with wonder as I gazed upon the contents.

On top there were photographs of strange people in strange dress.  As my mother took each picture out she regaled  me with stories passed down to her, from her mother and her mother’s mother.  Stories of faith, of hope and of love; of great warriors, sacrifice, deception and suffering. My mother then took my hands in hers and whispered, “These are your ancestors. This is where you come from.  Never forget where you come from little one, for how else will you know where you are going?”

Reaching back down into the chest my mother pulled out a package wrapped in cloth.  She carefully began to untie it and as she peeled back the layers I could see delicate lace work woven in an intricate pattern on sheer fabric. My mother placed the dress in my lap and squealing with delight I ran my hands over the silky fabric.  “Mommy, what angel wore this?” I asked. “Surely it must have been an angel to wear something so beautiful?”  She smiled through her tears and replied, “The dress belonged to your great-grandmother. She wore it the day she married your great-grandfather.”  I carefully picked up the dress and pressed my cheek to it, detecting the faint scent of lavender and smiled. We folded the dress very carefully as if it could break at any moment, then wrapping it securely in the cloth my mother placed it back into the chest along with the photographs.

Grandma's Hope Chest

Grandma’s Hope Chest

Later, I was to learn that my great-grandfather had the dress made to his exact specifications; for in the lace he had the seamstress weave symbols of an owl and cougar, important symbols to the Cherokee people.  Looking back I think he was a very smart man…for a pale face.

I said the chest was a beautiful piece of artwork because three years later a tornado ravaged the countryside and destroyed everything we had.  We were lucky to survive with the clothes on our backs and we were never able to recover any of the photographs, much less the dress.  I think that is what hurt the most. All those memories stored in that chest, lost forever, which brings me to the photographs above.

I have been back to Collabor88’s 2 year birthday bash several times now.  How I missed this little slip of a dress is beyond me.  This last and final  time I really took a good look at each and every designers creations.  I actually started to cry when I saw this dress.  It is simplicity in and of itself but the lace is what caught my eye, as lace always does.  Though it is much shorter and sleeveless it is much like the dress my great-grandmother wore the day she married my great-grandfather. You can bet your sweet arse this will be worn often.  Heck, I may not take it off for a few days, weeks even and if you smell something a little akin to BO coming your way, it may just be little ole me 😛  TWMA 🙂

Cougar’s Shopping List:

Hair : EMO-tions – ‘Yasmin’ black

Jewelry : EarthStones – ‘Dreamcatcher’Jewelry Set, ‘Jiya’ Bracelet Turquoise & Camelian

Dress : -tb- ‘Lacey Slip Dress’ Cream

Feetsies : GOS Boutique – Barefoot Flat Mesh Feet

Pose : Manifeste – Model 66

Bouquet : Obsidian Elegance – Daisy Bridesmaid bouquet  ***It should be noted I removed the built in pose, script and ribbon from the bouquet.  Made a copy before doing that though 🙂