My friend’s home was recently sold and a collection of things that no one could bring themselves to part with landed in a garage. I looked at the pile of items from three generations of living and my eyes began to tear up when they locked on a lovely white wicker bassinet.
Let me go back in history and tell you about the tears and the bassinet.
My lifelong friend Raye Ellen, had a little sister named Robin (Bird to me). She arrived on the scene when I was seven and Raye was nine. She was a bit of an afterthought for her parents I suppose but Raye and I considered her arrival a momentous occasion.We spent many hours hovering over her as she slept in her lovely white bed, waiting for her to wake up so we watch what she might do next.
Raye, I’m sure, was less interested because the baby had invaded her bedroom space. I, on the other hand, had never seen much of babies except distantly in the hands of my aunts and I instantly fell in love with this little creature.
Because our parents were very close friends and neighbours Robin became my Mother’s God Daughter. This was a task my mother took very seriously so the little girl was often found at our house.
As the years passed we watched her grow. At age three she always had a runny nose and straggly, tangled hair but she had fabulous, big brown eyes and a smile that was irresistible. When she showed up at our door with her grubby little fingers stretched out asking “Aunt Marj” for a cookie my mother would say, “Who has terrible hair and beautiful eyes?” Robin would reply “I do, Aunt Marj.” Perhaps not a great greeting by today’s standards but it was a moment of endearment for those two. They loved one another dearly.
By the time she was about five Robin had become quite a bother to her sister and I. Besides having to share a room with her, Raye had to spend a lot of time “babysitting”. Because of their age difference, the novelty wore off quite early. Raye had much more interesting things to do than have a little sister tagging along. Sometimes we would take our 5 cents and run downtown so Robin didn’t know we were gone until it was too late to have her tag along. We would savor every step as walked home with fudge-sicles in hand, but they had to be gone before we were in sight or we would have to go back get one for Robin.
When Raye and I left home to head off to the adventures of our lives Robin was still a little kid. She had her struggles as a teenager but we weren’t much exposed to them and we had started our own lives and families. The two worlds were very much apart until Robin finally settled herself down (a little bit) and had her own family. She and Raye Ellen actually became quite close as adults.
I often wished I had a sister to share life with but when I suddenly found Robin was my sister it was not by happy circumstances. Raye Ellen died suddenly and tragically. The circumstance threw me back into loving the sweet girl with the beautiful eyes. Our shared history and our shared loss brought us together and though we didn’t see each other very often our meetings were always warm and comforting.
Sadly, about four years ago Robin also died quite suddenly with stomach cancer. I didn’t even know until it was too late to say goodbye.
Recently her home was sold and her lovely, adult daughters had to sort through the memories. There were some things they could not part with which landed in their Dad’s garage. That is where I saw this beautiful bassinet. As I ran my fingers over the old wicker and it’s many coats of paint and rubbed my hand across the small, soft mattress I wondered how many little bodies had been placed in it over the years. I recalled the fabulous white eyelet and red ribbon that had decorated it so many years ago when I looked at that beautiful child it held.
Because it has been rescued I can only hope many more generations will find their beginnings in this simple piece of old fashioned furniture.
Are their pieces of furniture or relics of life which will find their way through generations with hope and promise of love and joy?