Something Old, Something New

The summer sun drifted down to us through the canopy of maple trees overhead. Out of school, and into everything two girls under ten could find in their backyard.

Most notably, a shiny pair of high-heeled silver sandals.

grass

Thoroughly familiar with earthworms and caterpillars spinning from our metal-framed jungle gym, we also had a taste for the finer things in life.
Such as my grandmother’s hand-me-down shoes. Heels. Strappy. And as gorgeous in the dewed-over morning grass as anything we’d ever seen.

My sister and I took turns with the shoes. Willingly, of course, like sisters everywhere. And when I’d manage to snag my turn, I felt almost forbidden, wearing these vestiges of the past. These promises of a future of high-heeled silver glamour.

The other day, setting the kitchen table for dinner, my bare feet kicked into an old red jeweled purse I’d passed down to my daughter. Stuffed full of monopoly money, Legos and a pair of baby mittens. You know, the essentials.

Something I’d tucked away in my closet for years, now swinging from her tiny arm. Something my mother had tucked away in her closet for years before that, as she’s the one who originally passed it down to me.

My daughter loves this purse. Or briefcase. Or treasure chest. Or whatever she calls it from day to day.

We had a babysitter come by a few nights ago. A sweet girl with a tie-dyed drawstring purse.

My own sweet girl eyed it with the same amount of wonder as if she’d sighted Atlantis.

“I like your purse!” she crooned. Turning over the thin cotton.

The babysitter smiled. Maybe someday she’d pass along this knapsack to her own little girl, on a family camping trip. Maybe it would be stuffed full of teddy bears and a flashlight.

I watched the exchange. Thinking of how I’d treasured any scrap of clothing ever passed down to me from my older cousin. Thinking of how my sister and I strolled around in those silver heels in the wet grass in our backyard, the sun glinting off our crazy-happy grins. And thinking of the reasons we treasure things.

Something old, when it becomes something new, is given a second chance at life.

In every small scuff, or tiny tear, lies a story from the past. A mark of some adventure. Or travel. A glimpse of the joy that object shared with its first owner, now possible for its second. Or third. Each person leaving a little something of themselves behind. A missing bead that bounced away on a dance floor under glorious chandeliers. Two stretched holes in a belt, unveiling the regular days and the skinny-jean days. Or even a knot of hasty stitches, a repair made on the run.

It’s adventure at its best. Right there up in your imagination as you look down at what’s in your hand.

Advertisements

214 thoughts on “Something Old, Something New

    1. I hope lots, Cindy! There are definitely those of us who look at our world as a throwaway society — but I also believe there is such a resurgence of recycling and save-the-planet mentality that, on balance, we are heading in the right direction! 🙂 Even most children’s museums have sections now on recycling and its cousin, “reusing.” Such a treasure trove for kids.

      Like

  1. Loved this!! And how I remember those shoes!!! Silver, shiny, and strappy indeed! 🙂 as I ran around after my daughter this morning at the park I was just thinking how special it was she’s able to wear so many of her cousin’s hand me downs. Today she’s in a Mommy’s little princess top and it’s so neat to think that this saying once applied to you!!! Thank you for this gift. 🙂

    Like

    1. It sure did! I love seeing my little niece in her cousin’s clothes! Brings back so many happy memories for me, and now they are two-fold with the photos you share of your own little darling. And I KNEW you would remember those shoes! How could you not? 🙂 Thanks for your super sweet comment!

      Like

  2. Beautiful memories, beautifully said – “A glimpse of the joy that object shared…” I am continually amazed at how you slip so easily into your own childhood memories and feelings and then feel them again in poignant moments with your own children. How lucky they are to have you for their mother.

    Like

  3. Aw, such a warm gooey feeling in my heart reading this. My own two girls remind me of my sister and me, dressing up in heels, long dresses (my negligees!!) and looking somewhat naughty as they parade their treasures. All I can do is grin. And remind them of the rule that they must return ALL things to their proper places once they’re done with their fun. (I can dream, can’t I?).

    Enjoyed reading. Did you know that you were my 100th follower? It rather snuck up on me, in the chaos that is my life right now. Now, if I could just get back to blogging! So much to write about, so little time.

    Thanks for your beautiful words. So easy to read!!

    Like

    1. There is never enough time to write! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I honestly write everywhere I can. Sometimes it just takes a while for the words to get down on a piece of paper! But they’re up in that mess I call my brain. I should take a lesson from you and your girls and try to keep all my thoughts in their proper places. 🙂

      Like

  4. It’s so amazing how children can be just as besotted with something old and make it into something new, on the spot. We haven’t had so many family hand-me-downs, but we’re big garage sale/charity shop treasure hunters, and my kids have countless ‘valuables’ found for pennies here and there that went on to be favourite companions or features in their games. The biggest hand me down success was a battered old Little Tikes Cosy Coupe car that my first son pushed all over the universe. He climbed on it too, the whole relationship being extremely physical. My youngest had the most involved imaginary games when it was his turn, five years later, and the car went through a very different phase of life in his hands. He was crushed when he discovered one day that he was really too big to fit into it, but moved on quickly, understanding somehow that this was a good thing, growing bigger and older. He agreed one day that it was time to put it at the curb with a sign saying ‘free’, just as we were heading out for a walk to the movies one Saturday afternoon. When we came back just a few hours later it was already gone, and rather than being sad, we had fun imagining what new adventures it might be going to experience.

    Like

    1. Dagne — you had me at, “besotted.” 🙂 What a lovely tale of your son. I’m not surprised, he seems very keen on how other people are feeling. And you’ve taught your boys well. There is so much from my own children’s toddler years that I feel like hanging onto forever, but it is almost always better to give it a new life somewhere else.

      Like

  5. Poignantly written. Thank you for bringing me back to some childhood memories that have been stowed away for too long.

    Like

  6. Due to circumstances I have precious little of my past. I wish I did to pass it on but it is not there. I am also amazed that as of yet there is little interest. That is why I blog. I want the stories down so when the time is right the children and grandchildren can read of my past.

    Like

    1. You are so smart to write those stories down. Nothing could be more important than sharing and recording those memories. I’m certain they will become treasured readings in the future.

      Like

  7. I absolutely loved the blog. Your story reminded me of myself when I was a little girl and of my daughters as they wore my bangles and clothes. In fact, little did I realize, but my youngest daughter sneeked a pair of my heels to school and wore them until I received a phone call and an exchange of shoes was made.

    I especilly loved this “my bare feet kicked into an old red jeweled purse I’d passed down to my daughter. Stuffed full of monopoly money, Legos and a pair of baby mittens. You know, the essentials.” This made me smile as I now think of my grand daughter as we play house together. You know the things that grandma’s do.

    Thank again for the refreshing blog.

    Like

  8. Brilliant! My daughter graduates from high school in June, and I will give her the diamond pendant my grandmother gave to me when I graduated. My grandmother had one child, a son, and she was so thrilled to have two granddaughters. How I used to love going through her massive closet and trying on her shoes! Your post brought back so many happy, warm memories! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂

    Like

  9. I was drifting back to my childhood reading this. It’s such a wonderful thought – old turning new – almost like life cycle. All things turn to dust and then rise from dust. I am going to have a nice evening mulling over your post. Thanks!

    Like

  10. Great post. Made me remember how mum and I wrote our own favourite recipes in a notebook, now it has slipped through my hands been given a new lease of life in another younger house.

    Like

  11. Thanks for sharing! It is incredible the charm that falls upon old objects that were once treasured by my mother and grandmother. A long while ago, when I got my ears pierced for good grades, my mother gifted me her first pair of gold earrings which my father bought when they were dating. He took her to get her ears done at 17. Yes, aww. And then my grandmother too, she gifted me her wedding hope chest. These are gifts which no money can buy, ones of a promise!

    Like

  12. wow, I’d really liked your writing style, I think you’ve used a Figurative language like the Allegory. Nice Great Job, I hope I can do the same in my own style. 🙂

    Like

  13. As a child, I had a lot of second hand clothes from family, I appreciate this post. Great job. Some old things bring character and intrigue

    Like

  14. Congrats on another Freshly Pressed! What a beautiful image, sisters playing on a lawn in too big silver strappy sandals…the nostalgia is sweet and real. I wear a gold bracelet that was passed on to me by my now dead Grandmother when I turned 21. It’s full of dents and scratches, because I never take it off, so it doesn’t look perfect…but it’s perfectly loved:-) Blessings, Harula xxxxxx

    Like

  15. Love the images your post conjured up, Melissa! I remember dressing up in my grandmother’s old fox stole and jewelry as a kid. I still have some of her earrings and I treasure them. It’s amazing how memories are attached to objects that have been handed down. Congrats on another FP! Hope you’re doing well!

    Like

    1. Thanks, Darla! We are all well here. Hope you and your gang are as well! Busy time of year, no? 🙂 But then, it seems every time of every year becomes busy once you have kids.

      Like

  16. Beautifully written! My children value a lot of the things I saved to pass to them. They also in return love to see their old stuff with others, it makes them less sad to lose them.

    Like

  17. Very sweet. Our closets are crammed with things handed down that were cherished by my wife or my children, and now stored in hopes that future grandchildren might feel the same about them. It’s a girl thing, I guess. Congratulations on getting Freshly Pressed; it happened to me some time ago. Crazy and overwhelming, no?

    Like

    1. Thank you! And yes, being Freshly Pressed is a wonderful thing. What a great opportunity to discover other writers. I look forward to visiting your blog!

      Like

  18. Awww….what a special memory. My own kids have gotten lots of clothes from their cousins, and I also love to see my 2 year old now fitting into things my 4 year old has outgrown. Passing things on is the way to go.

    Like

    1. Thank you. I totally agree. I even pass down some of my son’s clothes to my daughter — she doesn’t mind! They’re even cooler because he wore them.

      Like

  19. Not only was it lovely to share your memories of your childhood, and your child’s, but also reading through the comments it inspired, and others’ memories of hand-me-downs and treasures from the past. My daughter sleeps with a faux fur ‘stole’ my mother sent her. It thrills her to think that Grandma used to drape it around her shoulders when she went dancing 🙂

    Thank you for sharing this, and congratulations on being freshly pressed!

    Like

    1. Thank you very much! And I couldn’t agree more about the overwhelmingly kind and happy and pleasant and nice and wonderful comments (yours included). It’s been such a joy to read all these happy memories we all seem to share.

      Like

  20. This was so beautiful. I learned this lesson well last year when my grandmother passed away. Many of the items I have of hers were once new to her, or maybe passed down from her mother. A mitten, handkerchief, afghan. They are mine now. New to me. But so rich with memory and meaning. You write so well. Kudos to you Mama!

    Like

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother, she sounds like she was a big part of your life. That’s so wonderful that you have some of her things. We have afghans my grandmother made too. They’re at my mother’s house (her daughter) and have been used and loved for years and years. Thank you very much for your kind words!

      Like

  21. When I was a kid, I don’t like to receive old items from my big brother but as I grow older I realized that I should be grateful. Using his old items was like being part of his adventure too. Just like Sarah said, “so rich with memory” . Beautiful post Daisy! Thanks

    Like

    1. And thank you for the kind words! I like how you put it, “like being part of his adventure too.” And yes — aren’t there so many happy comments here? Glad you referenced one, I’ll go back and see what Sarah said again. 🙂

      Like

  22. This is so simply written but has such a strong meaning that I’m sure every grandma, mother, cousin, and sister can relate to. Being an older sister, I can agree with everything you say. My little sister and I are four years apart, meaning I’m the “cool older sister” with the cool clothes, nice jewelry, and fancy high heels. On a daily basis, she begs me to borrow anything she can get her hands on. Eventually, she starts wearing my clothes more often than I do! When I notice that a shirt or bag or pair of earrings has more use to her than it does to me, that’s when I hand it down to her. Even 4 months shy of 15 years old, her eyes still light up like when she was 8. It’s so true- an item has a new chance at life when it gets handed down to someone new. I know all the days that shirt has gotten me through and all the dates I went on while wearing those earrings. They’ve seen all the world in the eyes of an 18 year old so getting a chance to see it from a different perspective is pretty cool. I always loved when my mom would give me all her old stuff. Some of it not even old, but new that she just didn’t like anymore. There’s always some kind of excitement when someone gives you something knowing you’ll make better use of it than they ever did!

    Like

    1. “Her eyes still light up like when she was 8.” That’s so beautiful! Thank you for sharing. Sounds like you and your sister have a special bond (I can definitely relate!). And it’s so true — my sister and I have had this conversation many times, about all the memories that get attached to objects, clothing in particular. We’ve been each other’s support group for closet clean-outs more than once!

      Like

    1. I agree — it’s the little things. The details make the difference, which is so true. I find that’s the best part, when you get to add in the details to a finished piece (writing, art, etc.). All that hard work, and then the fun begins.

      Like

  23. This is so sweet! Every now and again I think back to playing dress-up and things with my sisters using mom’s old stuff. We had a cardboard box of high heels and we all took our turns. It’s funny now that I am older and my sister is a mom (to boys though), to see my belongings as things that could be played with, if we ever have little girls!, rather than just “things” that belong to me. What a nice little throwback!

    Like

    1. Thank you! There’s such a universal appeal to dress-up. My son loves it too! Of course he likes the pirate and ninja costumes, and anything with a sword or that can become a sword — Lord, help me — but it’s all the same spirit. 🙂

      Like

  24. Just saw that you got featured on Freshly Pressed again! So happy for you! As you know: I love all of your posts.
    My mother kept a lot of my old clothes, my daughter loves them.

    Like

        1. I loved this blog too…it reminded me of my childhood days. But it really made me think about my daughter who got upset with me when I suggested we send her formal dresses to her cousin in Alaska. “Mom!” she said. “These dresses are for my children some day. I doubt I would get them back from “cousin” because she would want them for her children.” I think we will always be “passing down” our favorite items…at least I hope so!

          Like

            1. My daughter is sweet…but she is twenty! haha I told her about your blog and she said she would check it out too. She is also an incredible writer like yourself.

              Like

  25. It’s a beautiful moment, isn’t it? when we pass down something we cherished only to see our little ones pick it up and play out the same roles we did? My daughter too used to carry monopoly money in her purse and carry it like it were a real purse, She would take it wherever we go and used to even want to help out, I miss those days before she got all grown up sigh! 🙂

    Like

  26. “Something old, when it becomes something new, is given a second chance at life.” -How true!! My grandma had a pearl stud earrings which she gave to my aunt almost 13 years ago. Surprisingly, No matter what the season or trend is, I have never seen her wearing a different earring till date..
    Great post for sure!!

    Like

  27. Beautifully worded..Love your style of writing !! When I was a child though,I was the youngest amongst many siblings and often used to grudge the fact that everthing I owned was “passed on ” 🙂 but now realise that everything old and borrowed has its own bundle of priceless memories!!

    Like

    1. Things look different as we age, for sure. That’s why I re-read books. Every time I find something new, or understand something in a new way; the text resonates with a different frequency each time. Thanks for the nice words! 🙂

      Like

  28. Nothing like old stuff with a history to turn on the imaginations of kids. It really doesn’t take much, and your post is a thoughtful remark on present day’s consumer society. Where did those small pleasures of getting something from a distant cousin go? Great writing, as always.

    Like

    1. Thanks, Otto! I’m so glad that I have a son and a daughter, and so does my sister, so hand-me-downs will be a part of our lives for some time. I really appreciate your kind comment!

      Like

  29. I too have passed many items down to my four daughters. Including but not limited to old purses, original strawberry shortcake dolls, an original care bear, my one and only loving you barbie, hats, scarfs, shoes etc. Their playing with them adds more scuffs and wear but it also adds another layer of love and memories.
    Maybe someday one of them might even want to wear my old wedding dress.

    Like

    1. Wow — you have original Strawberry Shortcake dolls? My daughter would love those! It must be so fun to see your girls playing with your old toys. What a happy house.

      Like

      1. I actually have the strawberry shortcake kitchen and snail as well. The younger girls are still to little to play with those. But someday, sooner than I think, they will be creating strawberry pies too.

        Like

  30. Such a great piece! in a world where cellphones, laptops, and other electronics have such short self-lives, its nice to know there are people out there that can truly appreciate something handed down from generation to generation.

    Like

    1. For sure. And perhaps even more so in a technology-rich world. I don’t mix well with technology (except a few things, like blogs, of course!) and my husband is always saying that I break our electronics on purpose. 🙂 Nothing can fill a soul like the simple pleasures of hand-me-downs. 🙂

      Like

      1. I completely understand. It is the same way for me, my wife is convinced I break my cellphones and laptops on purpose. Yet my most priced possession is a Maori necklace my mother bought for me at a dollar store in New Zealand. 🙂

        Like

  31. Reblogged this on WeDo and commented:
    I can completely relate to this blog. I grew up in a family of four girls where hand me downs were common. There were so many articles that I treasured and still do years later. Even my something borrowed at my wedding was from my sister. These pieces are memories that down the road you will tell stories about. That is what makes them magical.

    Like

  32. Something old, when it becomes something new, is given a second chance at life.
    I find that line to be so simple, yet so meaningful. It really spoke to me.

    Like

  33. Hi! I found this on freshly pressed, and I immediately knew it would be amazing. I wasn’t wrong! I love your writing style, it’s great how you can take a genre that is so specific like the relationship between a mother and her daughter, and turn it into something that everyone can relate to.

    Something Old Something New is brilliant, thank you for sharing this!

    Like

  34. Your words were so beautiful here. It was as if you were recalling my memories as I can relate wholeheartedly. Only for my daughter it’s a Rag doll not a purse. Thank you for this gifted insight. So lovely!

    Like

  35. You write beautifully. It was a joy to read. I’ve only just started blogging, and I had no idea how much stuff was out there. I’m glad I found you.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s