Monthly Archives: July 2012

Family baggage

When my parents moved back to Sweden last year, they didn’t just give me old photographs. They also gave me several pieces of furniture, including a trunk.

It is a beautiful piece, at least 130 years old, wood with metal bindings, sturdy handles, a lock and a painted inlay. It holds a lot, and I keep my wedding outfit in there — dress, shoes, veil.

Since I live in a tiny house already crammed with furniture, the trunk lives at my mother-in-law’s. I think it’s happy there, because she loves to polish furniture, and has treated the trunk to some expensive beeswax, making its dark wood glow. I don’t remember the trunk ever looking this good, even though I grew up with it, and saw it in a succession of houses in a succession of different countries. For many years, it was just there, in a corner, kind of glum.

If ever an object was haunted, I think this trunk would be. But I may think this because I know something of its first owner, my great-great-grandmother Anna. Read more