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Memoir Writing – Take An Object

July 17, 2018


Workshop 1 Page 45 – Take an Object

Take an object that comes from the time in your life you want to write about. Looks at it carefully and write about anything that comes to mind about the object, or your life at the time.

I’ve been thinking through this writing exercise for days and struggling to come up with an object that I have in my possession from my childhood. Until today. When making the bed, I moved my chair.  My chair! That’s it!

I have had a small child’s chair since I was very young, probably about three years old. And I still have it, making this little chair about 62 years old. Fortunately, when I left home, as a young adult, my mother kept the chair at her house. She probably thought I wasn’t responsible enough yet, to look after it. But I’m not really sure if that was the reason.

Every time I look at that chair, I am so thankful that it did stay with my parents. In 1988, we had a house fire, where we lost everything. So my chair would no longer exist, if it had been in  my possession.


The chair came back into my possession, in the 1990s and has sat in my many bedrooms,  ever since. This little chair has been consistently in my life, even when at times, there was very little consistency, so has huge sentimental value to me.

This special chair is a small cane chair, based on the larger chairs that were popular on verandah’s in the 1950s and 1960s. I remember my grandparents had two chairs, almost exactly the same along with a matching couch. I used to love laying on the couch, on a warm day, waiting for the trains that passed right in front of their house. I loved hearing the train’s horn, as it blew at the level crossing, near the house.

I really don’t remember much about my little chair, from my childhood, but I do have memories of sitting in it and listening to the large radio in our lounge room. I also remember being very possessive over this chair. It was my chair, and I wouldn’t tolerate my sisters sitting in it. I’m not sure how I came by the chair, but it was probably a birthday or Christmas present, as there was never any doubt that the chair was mine.

This little chair is in perfect condition. When I look at it now, sitting in the corner of my bedroom, it still looks to be in brand new condition, as it would have been on the day it came to me.

I do often wonder who will end up with this chair when I’m no longer here, and if they will they look after it, as I have. I’m not sure that the next generation will appreciate the history and the importance of this chair and how vital it is to make sure that it is kept safe. I’m sure this is a quandary that many of us have.

Do you have a sentimental item, from your childhood, in your possession? I’d love to hear about it. My policy is to reply to all comments.

The writing exercises in this series are from Patti Miller’s book – Writing True Stories, published in 2017, by Allen & Unwin.

From → Family stories

  1. Hi Jennifer, how lovely to have your chair and in such good condition. I have several objects: a small embroided jewel box my Mum gave me the day she went to hospital and never came home. A letter written by my grandmother (who I never met) to my mother when my Mum was in hospital having given birth to my brother. An envelope with a list of songs written by Mum. She used to sing these to herself when she was having her chemo treatment. A pair of spectacles which belonged to my grandfather and would be well over 75 years old. Such treasures I will pass on to my children. I love your series and must buy the book by Patti. xx

    • Pleased you’re enjoying the series Sue. Lovely to hear of your keepsakes & associated memories. As the family historian, I do have a few mementos from family members but the chair seems to be the only thing from my childhood

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