For some reason I’ve been thinking of this topic this week. (I know the reason, I’m just keeping it secret.) The loss of one of my mom’s family keepsakes did not sit well with her. I think she mentioned it to us when we were kids, but she definitely talked about it toward the end of her life. It’s a shame that some of those negative memories aren’t the first ones to go when a person starts losing their memory. Yet we are a result of our experiences good and bad. And both kinds make for good stories for a blog like this.
I say that the loss of her keepsake didn’t sit well with her, but it doesn’t sit well with me either. It’s something that I would love to see. She mentioned it in her little book she kept when she was documenting the memories she wanted to remember. Now that I think about it, she didn’t mention that my dad sold her baritone without her permission. It’s something else she talked about with a bit of sass to her voice. It was another thing that did not sit well with her. She wasn’t bitter about it, she just didn’t appreciate how it played out.
But the loss we’ll look at more closely is the loss of the trunk that was left to her by her maternal grandmother. Let me introduce all of the players. My mom was Betty Lou Bucklin Landry. She was born in Elton, Louisiana, on May 20, 1933, and died at the age of 83 on January 19, 2017. Her mother was Myrtle Sylvia Phenice Bucklin. She was born in Hathaway, Louisiana, on December 19, 1906, and died at the age of 79 on May 7, 1986. Grandma’s mother was Daisy Henrietta Martha Keys Phenice. She was born April 20, 1876, in London, England, and died at the age of 76 on July 29, 1952, in Elton, Louisiana. My great great grandmother was Martha Ann Cook Keys. She was born November 8, 1836, in Great Wigsborough, England, and died at the age of 59 on July 17, 1896, in Elton, Louisiana.
So let’s see what she wrote. I’ll quote it and then discuss it. “Mama somehow got the idea that Uncle Roy had a museum in his warehouse.” The Mama mentioned here is my maternal grandmother Myrtle. She was married to Fred Bucklin and Uncle Roy was his younger brother. They lived down at the other end of Bucklin Road (where Ronnie C. now lives). I don’t know anything about his warehouse. Was it behind the house? Connected to the house? or at another location? Uncle Roy died in 1999.
“At his funeral I asked Aunt Effie – she said he had a ‘collection’ – Mama had given him the gun collection from the Bucklins. I had Martha Cooks antique trunk. Grandma (Daisy) gave it to me when I was in high school. It had some of her needlework in it. It was no longer there + had been emptied on a shelf on the wall – So I guess MY trunk went to the ‘museum.'” I’m not sure what the 1999 funeral and the gun collection had to do with the trunk, other than that was probably another time she had tried to track down its location.
From what I remember, my mom had left the trunk at her mom’s home when she got married and moved to California in 1952. They spent time there and in New Mexico before returning to Louisiana in 1956. I think it was around this time that she noticed that her trunk was missing. She probably was ready to retrieve it and it was nowhere to be found.
It wasn’t just any old trunk, and it wasn’t just the trunk. “We liked to look at the needlework Martha had done. It was in bad condition but I had cleaned it up. It came from England when they moved here in 1887.” So it was the trunk that my Keys ancestors used when they immigrated to the United States in 1887! It probably even spent a little time in the chicken coop that the family lived in when they were waiting for their house to be built!
I first thought that the needlework that was in the trunk was by my great grandmother Daisy, but my mom specifically says later that the needlework was by Daisy’s mom Martha. Wouldn’t that be something to see?! My mom and her siblings enjoyed looking at it when they were youngsters. But sadly, I will never get to see that or the trunk.
Yet I do have a piece of cross stitch that Daisy’s brother Leonard stitched in 1883. I’ve shared a photo of that before. I have another photo to share, too. This one is a small photo that I have of one of Martha’s cross stitches that has survived all of these years. I think I can make out that it was done in Feb. 1868. It is in the care of one of Leonard’s descendants. I love it!