The old brown suitcase

The old brown suitcase

The tales it would tell !!

I’ve had it for many years .. ever since Elaine was a little girl in fact.  My Mum and Dad brought it from Zimbabwe filled with stuff for me, as they did often when they travelled by car (in the good ol’ days before Zimbabwe went to rack and ruin.  Then it was my turn to travel with goodies for them, mainly food stuffs and anything else they couldn’t get to make life more pleasant for them)    They always arrived with extra boxes or bags filled with goodies.  Some didn’t come in boxes or bags.   A small table or two,  My old ‘ dolly varden ‘ dressing table came, dismantled, and put together by my dad while staying with us !!!!    Some things new ..  some things old.  The old being keepsakes, family heirlooms and odds and ends my Mum passed on to me.  In other words, she was clearing out her cupboards .. as mothers do !!!

Elaine used this old brown suitcase for her dollies clothes and accessories.  Once she outgrew her dolls, I washed everything before packing it away to the back of a cupboard .. to keep for when she, or Jeanette, had a little girl.   Jeanette had boys.   Carl’s daughter Erin used the dolly pram, blankets etc when she visited but brought her own dolls.

Now that Elaine is expecting a baby girl in a few weeks time, I thought I could finally hand over the old brown suitcase.  Sadly, it was not to be.  She only wants to keep her favourite doll and clothes to fit, which is understandable.   I would have done the same actually 🙂  I’ve also been on the end of a mother’s ‘ hand-me-downs’ !!!!  Now I have a dolly pram, dolls and dolls clothes to go to an orphanage or somewhere similar.  Not sure where yet.  Any ideas anyone?

So now the old brown suitcase is empty.  What does one do with an old brown suitcase?!!  I’ve had several suggestions on Facebook from friends and family, which I appreciate.  As yet, I haven’t decided what to do with it.  I think, actually, it used to belong to my Aunty Paddy as I recall a tag or sticker with her name on it.   That must have been in the early 50’s, 40’s or even 30’s!

Sadly it needs a little TLC ..

When I was 7 years old, in 1960 .. many moons ago  … my family and I journeyed by train from Bulawayo in Rhodesia to Lourenco Marques (now Maputo) in Mozambique followed by a cruise on the Holland Africa Line ‘Randfontein’  to Cape Town for Christmas, returning to Lourenco Marques on the Holland Africa Line  ‘Oranjefontein’ and travelling back on the train to Bulawayo

I see my name is stamped on one corner which indicates that I used this suitcase for the cruise … maybe

I have random memories from that holiday.  Nothing of the train journey except on a station platform with my Dad organising our luggage with a porter and my Mum holding Ian, my baby brother who was then not quite two and who was needing a nappy change !!   As for the cruise, which was a cargo/passenger liner, and I might add, the only time I have been on a cruise, I have only a few memories  :-

.. spending most of my time with my elder brother Richard and baby Ian in the children’s section, behind a locked door!  No chance of escaping !!!  It must have been totally boring as I don’t remember anything about it except having sandwiches spread with a Dutch ‘treat’  which resembled ‘hundreds and thousands’ and chocolate sprinkles!

.. once, and only once, we were allowed in the adults dining room and being a little girl I was enthralled with the ladies and gentlemen dressed up in their finery .. and dining tables with a lip around to prevent spillage !!!

.. we were allowed out onto the deck, sometimes it seemed, as I recall my baby brother playing with a ball which naturally went rolling off the side ..  my mum running to grab him as there were no safety railings (which is probably why were locked away most of the time!) … and watching the ball bobbing on the waves drifting further and further away.

.. watching flying fish !!

.. leaving ports waving to complete strangers and throwing streamers

.. as it was a cargo vessel as well as passenger, it was fascinating to watch the harbour cranes off-load and on-load cargo in the ports

.. last but not least .. the smell of our cabin!!   Richard and I shared a small inner cabin.  No windows!  The smell of the air conditioning has followed me for 57 years !   As soon as my nose takes a whiff of ‘that smell’ it takes me back to the cabin-with-no-windows !!  To top it all, both Richard and I were confined to the-cabin-with-no-windows for a length of time (no idea how long) as we were sea-sick!   My mum and dad, and Ian being a toddler, had a cabin with one porthole, just one!!  It was one of those cabins down at practically sea level !!!!

If hubby and I ever went on a cruise, whether an ocean liner or a river cruise – the later is actually high on both our bucket lists – we would not ever … never, never, never… have an inner cabin!!!  We would save extra pennies for one with a window or better still with a balcony.  Never, never, never an inner cabin-with-no-windows!!!!!!!! No no no !!

I wonder what other stories of travel and adventure are hidden inside the old brown suitcase

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