This is a story about those time-honored treasures found in most households—family heirlooms or keepsakes if you will. I have some keepsakes from my Grampa and Gramma Jones that I received from my mother some years ago. They consist of a jewelry box and several items that you find in everyday use today. The jewelry box was manufactured by The Art Metal Works in Newark, NJ and has a stamped number on the bottom side. Louis V. Aronson formed the company in 1886 and in 1945 it became the Ronson Company, manufacturer of flint lighters.
The keepsakes inside the jewelry box include two of my Grampa Jones’ Hamilton watches. On the back of one reads the inscription, ‘Leroy C. Jones, Marine Midland Quarter Century Club, 1955.’ My grandfather was a banker. Marine Midland Bank began in 1850, was headquartered in Buffalo, NY and had hundreds of branches throughout New York State. Also in the box are a pair of his cufflinks. I can only imagine that he wore these cufflinks to work everyday, along with the various tie clips that he collected.
Among other items in this little treasure chest are three keys to who knows what, a tooth with a small gold filling in it and a Utica Club beer can opener. Utica Club beer was the first beer officially sold after Prohibition in 1933 at the West End Brewing Company (today know as the Matt Brewing Company) made in Utica, NY. It is the second oldest family-owned brewery in the United States, brewing beer since 1853.
While these items I’ve mentioned all have a unique history behind them and certainly a very heartfelt one on my part, I’ve saved what I believe are the most special keepsakes for last. Alongside the tie clips, watches, keys, cufflinks and gold-filled tooth are two ID badges with my Grampa and Gramma’s photo on them! My grandfather must have been in the service because his badge has the words US Army Air Forces, MAT CTR around the circumference and across his chest is the letter-number combo, A3267. My grandmother’s badge has no lettering around the circumference, however, at the bottom of her photo are the numbers: 11664, and what is really unique is that her name is written above that number in her handwriting, Marguerite F. Jones. So, as you can see in the photo below, there is quite a bit of family history in that little jewelry box and it gave me the idea of making a still life photo out of everything.
I set everything up out in the backyard on one of the old railroad ties that line the perimeter of the yard. The tie is one of mine that I grabbed out of the closet. I think this is a really great way to preserve a cherished memory…or in this case memories. The next time you find yourself rummaging through some sentimental keepsakes I encourage you to try your hand at making a lasting memory of them through photography.
Thank you for stopping by! Until next time, may your camera batteries always be charged and your eye ever watchful for the unique stories that surround you everyday.