Thursday, September 22, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: When is a door not a door?

Treasure Chest Thursday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that focuses on a family heirloom or everyday item of importance to the family. 

When Barry and I married, we moved into a basement apartment in my Great Aunt Violetta’s apartment building at 473 S. Mason St. in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Our apartment was just under the window
to the right of the main door. 

The antiquing craze was new to us, and we spent many weekends scouring the thrift stores, antique shops, and local auctions for anything interesting to fill our little apartment.

We stripped at least 2 layers of paint from this table.
It has recently moved to our daughter's apartment.

Ironically, one of the most interesting finds was right there IN our own little humble abode.  Just off the kitchen was an enclosed backdoor entrance plus a storage room. 

Cute kitchen.  Cute cook.

As a young wife who had been raised in clean, well-lit places, I was initially afraid of this cave-like room that always felt dark, cold and spider-webby.  I can’t recall what prompted me to go into that room, but I’m so glad I did.  There they were – dozens of old blue Ball jars, still filled with the harvests from MANY years past. 

I asked Violetta about them, and she was surprised.  She said, “Well, they must be Momma’s jars. You can have ‘em.”  Cha-ching!  Of course, the gross part was cleaning them.  It was 1973, and Mary Frances Jollett Davis had died in 1950, so the contents were at least 23 years old, if not older.

For 38 years I’ve used those jars as canisters.  Here they are today:

I never knew my great-grandmother, but I rather like having this connection to her.  To my knowledge, she never worked.  She raised 4 children and buried 2.  She sewed quilts.  She baked and she canned.  Perhaps the jars at this family reunion contained some of Mary Frances’s applesauce or pickles. 

Bearded man is James Franklin Jollett. 
Next to him is Mary Frances Jollett Davis. 
The woman in the white hat is
my grandmother Lucille Rucker Davis.

Violetta always said my great-grandmother was a good cook.  Probably she was, but it’s hard to trust the word of someone who made coffee that looked like tea.  

PS – When is a door not a door?  When it’s AJAR.  A jar.  Get it?  Hey, I don’t write ‘em.  I just repeat ‘em.



  1. Loved this post and all the photos! I have many ball jars and a whole box of those zinc lids. Yep, the antiquing craze...I have a house full of oldies but goodies!

  2. Are you here through the weekend with your ajar jokes??! HAHAHA! Great post and yes, the cook is cute and so is the man doing the stripping ;)

  3. I've always seen those in your house and had no idea. How neat!

  4. My mom uses old jars just like yours for storage. Love the Harrisonburg pictures!