A Bureau Bookcase, a relic of times gone by and keeper of memories

Our guest contributors are handpicked to provide positive, interesting, uplifting articles that appeal to ladies over fifty. So settle down with your beverage of choice and enjoy this nostalgic article from Sussex Selfie. She has also written about how lockdown has changed her here

Some years ago my mother said that I should have her antique bureau bookcase. It is a very large piece of furniture and housing it has always caused problems. It is a relic of times gone by when rooms were large and ceilings high. I am sure many people have one very similar to mine. 

A Bureau Bookcase, a relic of times gone by and keeper of memories

It dominates a room and none of my daughters want it. So, for the moment, it resides with me taking up too much space, but not unloved. 

The top section is shelved and has glazed doors, lined with a watered silk that is holed and faded. These shelves hold glassware rather than books that has accumulated over the years and which never gets used. I don’t suppose any of it is worth more than a ‘h’apence o’cold tea‘ but it has all always been in my life and is so familiar and comforting. 

The bottom half is a desk. It is stuffed with many small items that I do not know what to do with, but cannot be thrown away. There are lots of funeral and marriage service sheets. I have always found it impossible to leave a service sheet celebrating someone’s life, on a pew. It is especially hard if there is a photograph of that person on the cover. This may be the last reminder I have.

Orders of service celebrating a marriage remind me of the uplifting feel of familiar hymns, rousing organ music and, if one is lucky, unruly behaviour by a young attendant. These serve as an aide memoir to celebrate lives well lived and two people coming together.

I go though the tiny drawers finding ink pen cartridges, balls of elastic bands and old keys. Service medals from the last war and a small notebook with, on just a few pages, my father’s wartime jottings. It is yellowed and faded.  

A special thing hidden in a cubby hole is a little box containing a tiny teddy. It was from mother who was unsentimental to a fault. This, a gift on my fiftieth birthday from her, was and is remarkable and precious. 
Old passport photos jostle with birthday cards that were never quite right for anybody. 

The drawers below are firmly shut. They will remain that way. There is always another lockdown day to go through those…