Handkerchiefs and Copper Boxes

Unexpected, little things bring back memories of my great-granny who died over twenty-five years ago. But there is one thing that ushers them in every time, an old See’s brand candy box. Nestled inside are items no one else would find worth in, but they are one of only two things I asked for when Granny died. This treasure is Granny’s collection of handkerchiefs.

They came from all over the world. As a nurse, Granny met lots of people, including servicemen. These soldiers sent Granny handkerchiefs while stationed overseas.  When Granny opened that box, she told me the story of each one. They were as varied and unique as the handkerchiefs themselves. I can’t tell you their stories any more, but seeing that box brings back my times with Granny. Memories are powerful.

Suzanne J. Bratcher explores this in The Copper Box. This sense of nostalgia and memories drew me to her story. The story itself kept me reading to the end.

Adopted as a young girl, Marty has her past tucked safely away until her biological grandmother seeks her out. That single meeting begins to break down the walls between Marty’s present and past. Fragments of memories push her to seek answers, but tragedy threatens to keep her from finding the truth. Ghosts from the past haunt her, possibly quite literally. And Marty struggles to learn who she can trust when she returns to her childhood home. Though frightened by events in the present and scared of what her memories might be hiding from her past, Marty keeps searching, believing the answers she seeks are tucked safely away in a small copper box from her childhood.  When she finds the copper box, Marty will finally know who she is.

The Copper Box reminds us that memories of the past help make us who we are in the present. They represent people and events that impacted us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Listening to my Granny talk her handkerchiefs fed my love of storytelling. I learned even the simplest things have a story to tell. In The Copper Box fragments of memories are almost powerful enough to keep Marty from seeking the truth. Memories changed her, just like they change us.

Remembering is an important theme in scripture. God tells the people in Deuteronomy 11 to “lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul”. God inspired the psalmists to create songs telling of all the things God had done for His people. Altars and places of remembrance were often set up after God helped the people overcome hardship. Even Mary “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” after Jesus was born.

God asks us to remember for our benefit. It strengthens us for the road ahead. Looking back at the battles God has won for us, the way He has provided for us, and the comfort He has given us helps us deal faithfully with our current circumstances. Remembering changes us from our attitudes to our focus and prayers. Memories can change the way we live out our faith.

By the Book: Read Psalm 77. What are you currently facing? How has God worked in the past to help you in similar situations? How can that memory change the way you call out to God now?

One thought on “Handkerchiefs and Copper Boxes

  1. Heather, this brought memories of my mother’s handkerchiefs. There were so many, but I took the ones I enjoyed and made a skirt using them as gussets. Every time I wear it, I remember the story of Mama’s handkerchiefs. Good memories. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

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