The Keepsake Box

The idea of a keepsake box has been around for many, many years. Hundreds of years.

Traditionally made from wood, and the more special amongst them handcrafted, perhaps by a special person in one’s life, they kept the most precious of mementoes. Not those that were of any sort of monetary value, but those that held great sentimental worth.

When storage was scarce it was the mementoes of special events; weddings and christenings, or the birth of a child. Often the boxes were given as a gift at any or all of these events.

I think this poem by Maria Mazziotti Gillan succinctly encompasses the specialness of the keepsake box on so many levels.

rising out of it when I opened it. I loved the feel of the
burnished wood under my fingers, the box that would keep my
tender secrets for years. So much in our lives is like that, we
love and love and love an object and then one day

With photographs hard to come by, and saved for exceptionally special occasions, I imagine the boxes would have been the perfect vessel to keep and protect such images and memories.

More recently, the boxes are used for other events that, until only recently, were considerably taboo. Funerals and the memories of treasured people and the sad incidence of still birth and the memory of what could have been can be kept safely encapsulated in a gorgeous wooden box.

If we think of wars long past, the keepsake box may well have been the place to keep a token and reminder, however small, of a person loved and now gone.

This line in the same poem highlights just how valuable items like a keepsake box are, for our memories and to enable us, even for a moment, a reflection of a moment that was so incredibly special to us. It allows us to be in touch with a person we loved, or a moment that we treasured so greatly.

it disappears, and we don’t notice as though there were a
canyon in the middle of the world where all those lost loves
go. It is like that with people too. So now, when I hear your
voice on the phone, that trembling, rasping it has become

Do you have a keepsake box? What do you keep in yours?

The poem quoted can be read here

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