Putting Hope Back into the Chest

Aug 20 2008

As a bride someday…thinketh

On getting married… according to a 13 year-old. Meet Anna.

“Yes. I think about my dress and my husband and being married. My dress will be white with a tank top or spaghetti straps. Lace. And, all the way to the floor. I’ll wear my hair in a bun with a veil… Can you have a veil under your bun? (I nod yes) My husband… he will be funny, nice, loving, smart and want a family.”

And when I asked her if she thought more about her wedding day or the marriage itself, Anna replied “Marriage. My wedding is only one day but I get to be married for my whole life.”

It is said that every little girl dreams about her wedding day and for many of us, this statement rings true. Anna’s responses reminded me that our hopes and dreams for our future begins early. It also reminded me of the bygone tradition involving the hope chest.

My mom had one but that is the extent of my experience with them. I don’t hear anyone referring to them and I’ve never seen one on a gift registry.

Hope chests seemed practical enough back then when they were the keepers of the dowry and intended to store what a young woman might need to bring into her marriage: linens, household items, money… As far as I know, dowries are fairly rare nowadays and it almost seems silly to store things that can be easily purchased.

But, what about hopes and dreams and that which cannot be easily purchased? Anna is already dreaming about her wedding day, her future husband and what type of man she is looking for. A hope chest might contain journals or even love letters written to a future husband. Also, a hope chest might contain precious family heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation. A chest of hope for the future. That seems practical to me.

Maybe this tradition could be modernized and resurrected after all (and let’s include the boys this time).

What do you think? Are hope chests just an old-fashion idea or should the idea just be re-fashioned?

Photo Courtesy: PW Baker

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2 thoughts on “Putting Hope Back into the Chest

  1. I have a hope chest that my grandfather gave my grandmother before they were married. It was passed down to me. I treasure it and put items in it from my childhood. I will be married next spring (’09) and the hope chest will travel me when we buy a new home. It is a very sentimental piece of furniture and I hope to pass it down to a daughter of mine some day.

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