Friday, January 5, 2024

Family discovers time capsule in Raymond home

By Kendra Raymond

It’s everyone’s secret wish to discover a hidden treasure in the walls of an old house. For most of us, this once in a blue moon occurrence remains a dream. However, a recent renovation of our historic property uncovered just that – a bona fide treasure trove in a box.

A box of Bric-A-Brac and art items stored in an unused
house addition turned out to be a veritable time capsule
undiscovered for more than 50 years by a family
Eric Rollins, owner of Hometown Furnishings in Standish says he has not personally encountered any hidden objects in the walls of an old home. He tends to focus on the gifts an old building can produce.

“The most valuable piece can be the building itself,” Rollins said.

According to Rollins, you can make shelves from door casement frames, coat hooks from trim, or recycle old barn beams in a home. He even recalls someone making a bench out of barn boards from a cow barn with the rubbed areas still intact.

My former one-room schoolhouse has passed through four generations – my great grandfather, grandparents, parents, and now me. It was moved to its current location in Raymond when the previous farmhouse burned to the ground.

When my grandmother passed away in 1973, evidently the box was packed up and stored in an unused area over a house addition. I was unaware of its existence, so the veritable time capsule has been lying in wait for 50 years.

The cardboard box was clearly labeled on all sides in black magic marker, “Bric-a-brac for Kendra from Nan – Do not open until 1983.”

Miriam-Webster defines bric-a-brac as, “a miscellaneous collection of small articles commonly of ornamental or sentimental value.” The French term originally referred to small artsy objects kept in collections. In modern culture, the term has essentially become obsolete. Nowadays, we refer to similar items as trinkets or knick-knacks.

Considering that I had comfortably passed the required waiting period, I figured it would be alright to delve into Pandora’s Box. The great unveiling was a fun event shared with family, which included lots of laughs and reminiscing.

Each item was carefully wrapped in a piece of 1973 newspaper, still in good condition. We continue to enjoy the news of the day – especially the ads. Who doesn’t want a Zebco 404 fishing reel for $3.88 or two bottles of Hunts ketchup for 68 cents at Bradlees? I’d take the trip to Portland for a Chevrolet Nova for $2,895 - no questions asked. How about an Amato’s bucket of spaghetti (with sauce) for $1.25? Or even better, a men’s ski parka at The Men’s Shop in Windham for $7.50 seems like a square deal.

Sifting through the cache, I discovered English china, small plates, and miscellaneous pieces of dishware and home goods. Most items were in perfect condition. I was thrilled to find many pieces of pottery crafted by my grandmother who was also a ceramics instructor at Camp Wawenock. My favorite discovery was several sculptures she made of babies and children.

My grandmother was an accomplished sculptress who studied under Hungarian sculptor George Julian Zolnay in the early 1900s. She is responsible for creating a bust of Arctic explorer Donald MacMillan which has been displayed in the Peary-MacMillan Museum at Bowdoin College. Her other projects included vast commissioned works such as busts and statues. She even created dolls where the face was an exact replica of the child for whom it was intended.

You may wonder how to find a hidden treasure of your own. Rollins works with a lot of furniture but has some sage advice.

“You never know what you will find in drawers, like heirlooms, cash, or trash,” he said.

So that is a good place to start. When seeking old pieces that could be valuable, Rollins recommends looking for solid pieces of furniture that can be brought back to life.

“You can keep the memories and bring a modern touch,” he said.

My Nan always said, “It takes a heap of living to make a house a home”, which is attributed to the poem “Home” by Edgar Guest.

I found that handwritten quote in some of her other belongings, which made me realize that our little schoolhouse is filled with “a heap of living” – and then some. I can’t wait to see what else may be in store. <

No comments:

Post a Comment