The Human Parts Open Thread: Bedroom Things
Human Parts

My Grandmother’s Handwriting

On my side of the bed lives grandma’s dusty old bedside table. In the third drawer, amongst the hairpins and teenage notebooks jostling for space with more adult content, you’ll find a selection of small hand-written notes my grandmother penned before I was born.

Each note represents a treasure — a blue porcelain teacup from England, a hand-blown glass bowl from Italy, waltzing figures trapped in the heart of a Goldwasser flask from home. All these objects were painstakingly catalogued for future sale: her little nest egg independent from the men in her life.

One note reads —

Berlin C. 1775–1800. Paid $10 in 1982.

Or maybe it was ’52 … I can’t tell.

When nana died, my family was swamped with her furniture, artworks and ornaments. Her collection of objects swallowed an entire room and threatened to engulf us in petty squabbles over antique memories.

We’ve moved house several times since nana died. Her records have been lost — notes float adrift, unconnected to any saleable goods. She’d chastise me for that. But there’s one collection I haven’t lost — the tatty paper scraps in my bedside table — the lines nana traced with her own hands.