Susan picked up the soft, emerald-green teddy bear, with the clover on the bottom of it’s feet, which had been her favourite for many years. She cuddled it tight, as she remembered her parents fondly. This teddy had belonged to her Irish Grandmother, who had left it to Susan’s Mother, and it was passed on to her. She was determined it was not going to be thrown in the bin, not while she was still alive!
Susan’s daughter had made it clear, she didn’t want any “left-over ancient trash” as she called it.
Her daughter was meticulous about what she kept in her house.
The house was a “show-house” with nothing out of place and no nick-nacks of any sort, cluttering up the shelves.
To Susan, it seemed cold, unhospitable and uninviting. Her grandchildren’s rooms were spotless and tidy, any clutter kept stored in their cupboards. They were allowed only one doll or teddy, to leave on their neatly-made beds.
Susan was having a Spring clean. She had found a large cardboard box in the spare room, the only things left to tell the story of her Irish grandparents and her own Parents, lives.
Susan felt her Parents and her Grandparents presence, as she held onto the teddy.
Her Grandchildren were getting to the age where they wouldn’t want any teddies for much longer. Susan longed to pass it on to them, but feared they would just throw it away. What could she do?
Susan decided to keep the box of memories and try to reason with her daughter again. Maybe she could convince her to keep a few things to pass on to her children.
A week later Susan’s daughter rang. “Hi Mum, I was hoping you could keep an eye on the kids for me Saturday.” “I have to go to a High School Reunion, which will probably last late into the night.” “If they could stay over for the night, I’d be forever grateful!” “Of course!” Susan answered. “You know they are always welcome!”
Beth arrived at the door about 9am, dressed in a lovely emerald-green suit, with the children behind her.
Jenny was 10 years old and Todd was 13, and neither of them believed they needed to be “looked after” by Grandma.
Jenny gave Susan a swift peck on the cheek, and Todd just glared and brushed past her.
“I’ll call back around 9am tomorrow morning to pick them up.” “Make sure they don’t go anywhere by themselves, thanks Mum!”
Susan assured Beth they wouldn’t be any trouble, and she would keep an eye on them.
Jenny and Todd had plonked themselves on the couch.
Jenny was busy searching through her phone, Todd was looking through the list of DVD’s for a movie to watch.
“Are either of you hungry, or would you rather just have a cold drink? “Susan asked. Jenny looked at her Nan. “We are quite capable of getting ourselves a sandwich or a drink, thanks Nan.”
Todd snarled at Jenny. “I’d like a glass of juice, thanks Nan.”
Susan thought to herself. “Well, this is going to be a long day!”
Actually the day went by quickly, and in no time it was getting on for 11pm!
The DVD was about to finish, when the phone rang. “How are the kids behaving?” Beth asked. “They’re just about to go to bed.” Susan said. “We have had a lovely day.” “We took the dog for a walk along the river, stopped for lunch at Sanga’s, came home and played some board games, then watched a DVD with some home-made popcorn!”
“Sounds like everything went well then, so I’ll see you around 9am in the morning, bye for now!”
What Susan hadn’t told Beth, was that they had also spent several hours going through the cardboard box of memories.
At first, when she started to tell them the story of her parents and grandparents, they ignored her.
When Susan had confiscated Jenny’s phone and turned off the television, they realised they had better listen to her.
After a lot of huffing and puffing, groaning and rolling eyes, they settled down and listened.
Susan told them the story of how their great-grandparents came out to Australia on a large ship, which docked at Port Fairy.
They had spent most of their lives there, and were buried in the local cemetery. Susan showed them books, toys and linen, along with letters, diaries and photos, all passed down from their great-grandparent’s, to their grandparents.
Jenny loved Genealogy and hoped to be able to study it at Uni, so she was very interested in the old diaries, letters, books and photos.
Todd picked up the small emerald-green teddy. “This is cute, how old is it?” he asked. “I’m not too sure, but it was passed down to me from your Great-Grandma.” It was given to her when she was a small child, so I guess it’s pretty old.” Susan replied. “I was hoping one of you would like to pass it on to your own children, in the future, seeing as you weren’t allowed to have it.”
Todd looked at the teddy for a long time, like he was trying to seep into the memories it contained.
Todd picked up a small black and white photo of his Great-Grandma holding the teddy.
“I would like to have the teddy, to pass on to my own kids, one day, and I’d also like to have this photo, if that’s okay?”
Susan was stoked. “I know your Mother doesn’t want any of these things in her house, so they can stay here for now, that way she can’t “throw them in the trash!”
“When you’re old enough to leave home, or when I pass, this box of memories will be left in my will, or you can pick it up when you move, if I’m still here!”
The next day when the Grandkids had gone, Susan opened the cardboard box, had a last tight cuddle of the emerald-green teddy, kissed her parents photo, then closed it up. She taped the box up tight and wrapped it in plastic, then carefully stored it on the highest shelf of the linen cupboard.
Fifteen years flew by, in the blink of an eye.
Susan got very sick, then passed away quietly in her sleep, she was in her late eighties.
Jenny and Todd were now twenty-five and twenty-eight years old, and both had families of their own.
When the will was read, the box of memories was passed on to them, which their Mother didn’t like and tried to convince them to throw it all away.
They kept the box of memories.
Jenny went on to write a large historical saga about her Great-Grandparents, which became a number one best seller.
Todd had a special glass case made for the emerald-green teddy and the photo of his Great Grandmother, which now sits in pride of place on a shelf in his daughter’s room.
Susan would have been so happy and proud, that her parents and grandparents would not be forgotten, and their memories would live on, passed down to many generations to come, along with a small emerald-green teddy, all the way from Ireland!