The Hope Chest

The Hope Chest



WARNING… WARNING… WARNING… If you easily get sticker shock, either gird your loins for this one or don’t read the final paragraph, when I actually talk about the chest in the photo. To quote Bob Wallace in White Christmas when asked about the price of something he said: “It’s right in between, uh, between ‘ouch’ and ‘boing'”. Rest assured, the first several paragraphs are safe with me simply meandering on about my youth! You can jump ship before we talk chest!

When I was a little girl, my best friend had a hope chest. Every once in a while we would go through it, carefully removing everything inside. There were pillowcases embroidered by her grandmother, silverware that been a great-aunt’s, and a quilt made by another grandmother with the women at her church. There was a family bible, a photo album, her christening dress, baby rattles, a plaster statue of baby Jesus, and an assortment of jewelry. All things that she could use someday when she was grown and married. It was AWESOME!

I wanted a hope chest. I really, really did. Traditionally, a hope chest was “a chest containing household linen and clothing stored by a woman in preparation for her marriage”. I had hope… shouldn’t I have a chest in which to store my hope, plus a few lovelies? I asked my mom about it. Seems our family didn’t DO hope chests.



I was not going to allow this to weaken my resolve. I got my own hope chest. Actually, I just cleared out the lowest drawer in my chest of drawers and deemed it my “hope chest”. I remember purchasing the first item for my future life… a set of plastic coated, paper placemats, depicting panoramic senses from across the United States. Think greasy diner placements covered with contact paper. All that was missing were the ads running along the sides for businesses like Muriel’s Funeral Hope, Gus’s Towing and Shelby’s Hair Salon. Okay, not heirloom stuff, but it was a start.

Over the years I continued to add items to this drawer. I made 1 cross-stitched pillow case, there was a salt and pepper shaker set shaped like pigs, and a blank phone book. There were a couple other things, but I can’t remember what they were. Let’s just say it wasn’t an impressive showing. After a while I began to think of it as my “Hopeless Chest”, and at some point in my early high school years, the items in my drawer disappeared, and it was filled with notes from friends, poetry from my angst years, and other memorabilia, important to me at the time. 

Eventually, when I was a “married lady”, I finally got my hope chest, but by the time I got it, I no longer filled it with items of “hope”. Instead, I filled it with items of love and cherished memories. To this day it holds my First Communion Dress, the first cable knit sweater I knit in 2nd grade, my wedding dress, much of the contents of my bottom dresser drawer, and oodles a paraphernalia from my babies.

Much like when I was young and at my girlfriend’s house, occasionally I go through my chest, carefully unwrapping its contents. Everything in it is as precious to me now as the items in my friend’s chest were to her then. I wish she were here now to sit on the floor and to go through it with me. Oh, the stories we could tell one another!

The Chest in the photo is from one of my all time favorite furniture companies… Sticks. And, YES, I know… it costs $2,921.00. And, YES, it is too dear for my budget, but I’ve actually drooled on Sticks Furniture in person. The pieces are awesome. The colors, the finish, the feel. Each piece is a hand-made, incredible work of art! Love it!

So, now I’m wondering… between Tim’s woodworking skills, and my newly emerging painting… hmmmm….

Copyright © Wee Folk Art, LLC 2008-2014. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce our text, images or patterns without prior written consent. Please contact us with any questions.

Reprinted on Wee Folk Art’s Facebook page 3-15-14

Photo 3-15-14





  1. I say go for it. You and your husband are very talented and no doubt can do something of this calibur. I have a cedar chest that has followed much the same path as your drawer, it was my mothers and was given to me when I was about 10. I have always loved it so much and one summer my father and I refinished it which made all the more special to me. Right now it is full of all kinds of special objects from my life that I love to go through and treasure on occasion.

    1. I'm sure we could talk about the circle of life and how things change over time. A chest is once filled with hope, and now it is filled with memories. Life is good 🙂 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *