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Samantha Turnbull Writer, mother, anti-princess

Piano tuner

Finding comfort in ‘stuff’

I opened the book and pressed my nose up against the fading, tea-coloured pages.

“Smell that, Libby,” I said. “There’s nothing like the scent of an old book.”

My nan kept a lot of books that her kids (including my dad) read in the 60s and 70s.

She passed many to me when I was little – lots of Enid Blyton, original Golden Books and May Gibbs.

And when Libby and Jonah were born, she managed to dig out a few more classics for them.

As I read to Libby from Scotty in Gumnut Land last night, I realised there is some comfort to be found in ‘things.’

In recent years I’ve grown increasingly conscious of consuming too much. News about sweat shops in Bangladesh, Annie Leonard’s The Story of Stuff and the 1 Million Women campaign have all had an impact on making me less materialistic and more eco-conscious.

I look around my house, however, and feel a wave of emotions when it comes to particular ‘things.’

Just this week, we got our piano tuned. We inherited it from my husband’s Inside pianograndmother and, as neither of us plays, we never really knew what to do with it.

I decided Libby and Jonah might like to learn, so we hired a tuner.  As he ran his fingers over the hammers, he told me it was built in the 1890s.

“They don’t make them like this anymore,” he said. “You’ll get many years out of it, yet.”

The thought of my children playing an instrument their great grandparents once enjoyed makes my heart sing.

Cookie jarIn the kitchen, I see my ¬†mother-in-law’s cookie jar on top of the refrigerator. She bought it before she had any grandchildren, but knew it would be a treasured vessel to hold her homemade treats one day.

She’s no longer with us, but every time Libby or Jonah reaches into the jar they will be reminded of their beloved nanna.

And in the kids’ rooms, I’ve started memory boxes for the both of them. I sobbed as I folded tiny booties, hats and fancy outfits I couldn’t bear to pass on to pregnant friends or charity.

I hope that my grandchildren may one day wear the same precious clothes and bring more tears to my eyes.

I’m no hoarder, but there is some ‘stuff’ that will always be a part of our home and our stories.

Decades from now, I wonder if Libby and Jonah will find the same pleasure with the waft that comes from opening an old book.

Maybe it will be one written by their own mum.

– Linking with Sunshine Sundays and Zanni Louise.

8 responses to “Finding comfort in ‘stuff’”

  1. Lisa@RandomActsOfZen says:

    Love this Sam! I kept a selection of things from when Bell was born, and they make me a bit happy/sad weepy when I go through them.
    Libby and Jonah are so lucky to have that piano to enjoy as they grow up. x

  2. Tegan says:

    I wish that I had kept some of Mr 4’s baby stuff. I was given my Grandmother’s watch after she passed away and even though it doesn’t work it is still special to me.

  3. Kate Morell says:

    That is a treasure, that old piano. Just to have something, in working order, from family long ago. That is precious.

  4. Lauren @ Create Bake Make says:

    A beautiful post. I’m quite sentimental too and take huge pleasure reading books with my boys that belonged to myself and my mum.

  5. Kathy says:

    Lovely to discover your blog Samantha via Zanni #mylittlesunshinehouse. I so agree that there is ‘stuff’ that we consume and as a world we do far too much of that. I am sentimental with certain things too, and things that we bought in China when we adopted our kids, the clothes that they came with on the days we first met them, they are up their with the special things I hold dear. I love having things around me from places we have travelled – I even hold off buying new things so I can get them from some place we travel to. I had a wallet with a broken catch from San Francisco that I held onto until I could buy a new one when we travelled to Japan this year.

  6. Zanni Louise says:

    What a beautiful post. I have goosebumps. And what an magnificent instrument! It’s so great it was kept in the family. Looking to buy second hand digital piano is a bit depressing, as it’s not quite like the real thing. Check out ISM Alstonville for lessons. They start piano for four year olds. x

  7. Renee Wilson says:

    Beautiful post. I get the same joy when I think of ‘stuff’ that will be handed down the generations. We recently inherited a piano. It was my father in law’s piano, and before that his mother’s. So, in time, our three year old Ava Edith will learn to play on the piano that belonged to her Grandmother Edith. Pretty special stuff.

  8. Lydia c lee says:

    Interesting, the fine line between the fleeting pleasure of consumerism and the happiness derived from sentimental triggers. Nice post.

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