Sunday, May 1, 2016
This traveling trunk came from my Teal grandparent's home, although when I first met it, the trunk had been passed down to their youngest daughter, Lela. Almost 50 years ago, she saw some work I had done on a smaller trunk that had been given to me and asked me if I could "make hers pretty." The trunk was already travel worn and weary by then so that was a tall order for someone who knew little about working with the rusted metal corners. Antiquing was in vogue then so she wanted me to antique the trunk with a base color of pink! Cringing a bit at her color choice, I agreed to work on it. Years passed, and Lela died. Since her only son was stillborn and no one else wanted it, the trunk escaped being thrown away and came to me. That was early 1994. Our family had just returned from living in Indonesia, moved to the Houston area, and started a business. We had 3 grown sons and a very busy family life. The trunk sat for many years.
Now our sons are married, we have 5 granddaughters, and another grandbaby on the way. We are selling this house to move to one we have bought to share with our youngest son and his family. In the process of cleaning and clearing, we have passed on or given away many family things that have stories. The trunk is big and in ill repair, and at first, no one wanted to take it home with them. But this week, it will go to our oldest son who is a very talented artist and craftsman. If anyone can make this old trunk look like the treasure it is, he can. Because it is a treasure. There are so many stories it could tell.
I can wish that I had paid enough attention years ago to ask the questions I now have. Questions such as "who was the original owner of the trunk?" It could have belonged to either of my grandparents because of the times in which they lived. Thomas Jefferson Teal was born in 1877. Ida Mayfield Teal was 7 years older, born in 1870, making their young adult years the time when this barrel stave type trunk became popular for traveling. But it could also have belonged to their families. I know very little about these ancestors. So it is too late to ask the questions. I can only know that the trunk may look empty but that it carries a world of stories inside.
I can't wait to see what it looks like after my son imagines the stories.
Friday, December 20, 2013
Daddy was loving and attentive to his parents, especially his mother, calling her "Mama." Many people have told me he was one of the kindest men they every knew. He was also kind and caring to our Mother and to my sister and me. He did have a temper but rarely lost it. Since he only had a 7th grade education, he worked very hard to earn a living. He was working at Cameron's cafeteria in Tyler, TX when he and Mother married. They both continued to work there for some time. During World War II, they moved to New Orleans, LA so he could work as a welder in the shipyards. After they came back to Texas, he worked in the Bon Ton Cafe in Jacksonville, and eventually owned a restaurant with his brother. Later he owned and operated the Bus Station Cafe across from the Liberty Hotel in Jacksonville. My first job was in that cafe. I was twelve years old, and pleased to greet customers and take their orders.
Although they didn't live on the farm, my parents purchased land from my maternal grandparents where Daddy kept a small herd of cattle, had a garden with a fruit orchard and grew some crops.
Daddy made a profession of faith and was baptized in the cotton gin pond in Bullard before he and Mother married. He was a faithful member of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville and rarely missed a church service where he could be found on the same pew two rows from the back every Sunday. He loved his grandsons and they loved going with him to feed the cows.
I never doubted that he adored me and I adored him. He was proud of my good grades and the fact that I went to college. He has been dead for over thirty years but I still miss him. It is part of Christmas for me to honor his birthday. He was not big on gift giving, but every Christmas he put chocolate covered cherries under the Christmas tree for me from him. Today, I bought a box of Queen Anne Chocolate Covered Cherries and put the unwrapped box under the tree with all the wrapped gifts. Thank you, Daddy - you are still a gift to me.