Years ago – more precisely I do not recall – my father gave me the item pictured below. It was dusty and dirty. I tucked it away and never paid it much attention. In fact, I nearly threw it away because it seemed to be nothing. One day I gave it a closer look…and began thinking about it.
The box is black-painted metal with a touch of gold-painted trim; it measures about 5 inches x 8 inches by 3 inches deep. As you can see, it could be locked with a key at one time. The best part is this: stamped onto the cover (maybe with hammer and nail) is the name “Mrs. B. Estenson.”
This box apparently belonged to Gina’s mother, our great-grandmother Maria Thorson Estenson, born in Biri, Norway, April 1, 1850. Whatever use it had, it was important enough to have a lock – and Maria’s name indelibly added. It may have been, it seems to me, a box for valuables for our immigrant family member. Perhaps she didn’t bring it from Norway because the name is not Maria Thorson, but it may have been used to safeguard items used only on special occasions. Was it, for example, a very humble jewelry box? Did it contain the following item?
This piece also came through my father, and I don’t know what it is. End to end it is 13 inches. Is it a necklace perhaps? Maybe one of you can help me out. In any case, both items point to a much simpler time than our own.