Saturday, December 10, 2011

Grandpa Roger's Treasure Chest

When Grampa Roger was about 8 years old, Grandma Clara and Grandpa Jesse gave him a "treasure chest" ....

.....that we inherited many years ago... Here is the story he told about the Christmas he received it:

The Pirate's Chest

A true story by: Roger W. Dean
(I'm copying this exactly and Grandpa Roger wrote can so feel the love he had for his Grandparents and family)

The year was 1930. Our family tradition was to always spend Christmas Eve with my very special Grandparents, Jesse and clara Dean. I am telling you their names so you may better know who they were, but I always called them Grandma and Grandpa Dean. I loved them with all my heart and even though they are not with us I still love them and remember the wonderful childhood I had with them.. Christmas was a very special time in our family life. My Great Grandmother Browning would always make "Tarts" which were served on a wicker tray about four feet in diameter. Oh, they were Luscious and so good to eat. There were vinegar tarts, apple tarts, strawberry tarts, blackberry tarts and so many more. At this time in my life I lived with my parents in a duplex (two houses joined together) and my cousin Patricia with her parents, Uncle Bill and my wonderful Aunt Thelma lived in the adjoining duplex. I always called her Pat or Patti and that is why your Mom's name is Patti (Patricia Darlene Dean). Patti (my cousin) was the age of a very famous child movie star (Shirley Temple) and her mother (cousin Pat's mother, my Aunt Thelma) always like to curl Patti's long hair just the way Shirley Temple's was curled. She (Aunt Thelma) would also every Christmas sew a beautiful dress for Patti. Perhaps with yellow organdy and lace trim. They were beautiful but the problem was that my Aunt Thelma would not get them finished until late Christmas Eve. This made us late in getting to Grandma's for our presents and party. You can just imagine a little boy (me) being so frustrated in waiting until the dress was finished and being able to go to Grandma's house. A question: "why is it always going to Grandma's house? Don't Grandpa's have a house too?" Yes they doo!!! This is just a little background of my family and the way we celebrated Christmas.

So one Christmas (1930), one of my presents was my Pirates Chest. Today if you look at it you may just see some dark boards and with my initials on top, but to me it was a very special present. My Grandfather had made the chest and if you look inside you will see a sliding drawer. Underneath the top drawer was another secret drawer in which treasure maps for buried gold, jewels, and Pirates money was hidden. These are probably long gone by now but for an eight year old who was into reading about "Long John Silver" and the lore of the Spanish Pirates it was pretty exciting.

My Grandmother was a very artistic woman. The cast iron initials on the top of the chest were made in the following way: My Grandmother found a piece of pine wood (perhaps from an apple or orange crate) and with a paring knife made the mold for the letters RWD. She then took the pine mold to a metal caster, and they cast what you now see on the top of the chest. Please remember that this was in 1930. No computers, no TV, none of the things we take for granted today.. Also the great depression was going on. Money was a major problem. My father cleaned used brick sitting next to a railcar in Oakland to help support his family. But you know what, there was a bright side to all of this. We had a family and we had love, and that is what it is all about.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

'Tis the season! (Ho, ho ho...)

'Tis the season! (Ho, Ho Ho...) What a merry little elf! We're looking forward to seeing her next week (along with Dave and Jess)