Saturday, October 27, 2012

W is for WEDDING presents

After my granddad died, the lamp appeared on top of the fridge.  I didn't know where it came from (and as a typical child, I didn't care).  I just liked it.  Was my preoccupation because the lamp was up high up out of reach?  Or was it more?

As I became older, I still admired the lamp and dad told me that it had been in my grandfather's shed for years and after granddad died, he rescued it and cleaned it up and obtained new glass for the top of it.

The Christmas before last, Dad gave the lamp to me.  I was overwhelmed.  It was the best Christmas present ever.

Earlier this year I came across a newspaper article about the wedding of my Great Grandparents on Wednesday 21st May 1902.

Transcribed article
Click to enlarge

Great Grandparents
Ambrose and Mary Walker
circa 1902
You can imagine how I felt when I came across this list of the wedding presents received by my Great Grandparents. You will see that the first gift listed is a lamp, given to the newly wed couple by the bride's father, Mr S Mottram snr. (being my Great Great Grandfather).

I rang my father immediately and asked if he could tell me anything more about the lamp.  He seemed to think that it had belonged to his grandmother and his father obtained it when she died, but he wasn't certain.

No one can tell me for sure that the lamp that sat on top of the fridge for years is the wedding present to my Great Grandparents but I "know" that it is.  Gut Feeling? Intuition?  I cannot explain it.

You will remember that I received the lamp as a gift from my father. I also received the crystal jug below about the same time, as a gift from my cousin, who I hardly knew. I will be forever grateful and appreciative of her generosity.

Rita & Gordon Walker
This crystal jug was a wedding present to my grandparents on Wednesday 23rd September 1925.

Before writing this blog, I was unaware of the wedding gifts my parents received on Thursday 26th January 1967.  This prompted a call to mum and she sent through some photos.  I was very surprised to learn that the dinner plates, we ate from every night when I lived at home, were wedding presents.  Mum still uses all of the pictured wedding gifts.

Left:  Mix Master and Saucepans from Mum's mother
Middle: Dinner set from Mum's sister
Right: Dinner set from Dad's sister
Mum and Dad
Now we arrive at Alex & I.  We married Saturday 15th June 1991.  My sister and her boyfriend gave us an urn, which was more of a joke about how much coffee Alex drinks.  It still sits on the top shelf of the pantry.  We primarily received money instead of gifts so we could buy home appliances.  The only one remaining today is the box freezer.

On our wedding day, I wore my grandmother's hand carved cameo as "something old".  Gran told me that she had received it from her grandmother as she was the eldest granddaughter.  I am her eldest granddaughter and I was very surprised and emotional when she gave the cameo to me on my wedding day.  I hope that I have a granddaughter so I may follow tradition. Hopefully she will also want to wear it on her wedding day.

"Something Old"

Alex & I
Painted on our honeymoon
My first overseas trip was our honeymoon to Thailand.  The above oil painting was our wedding gift to ourselves.  It was painted from three photos (a group photo and two individual photos) by a painter in the hotel lobby.

All this talk about weddings and wedding gifts has made me think about what I will give to my children when they marry.

Perhaps I will give my daughter this bangle?  We purchased the stone on our honeymoon in Thailand (as young unsuspecting tourists, we paid double what the stone was worth).  In 2011, our 20th wedding anniversary, I had the stone made into a bangle.  I wanted it to be something I would wear but something that would last several generations and become a family heirloom.

I have no idea what I will give my son but believe I will have many years to think about it!

Click on the picture for more "W" posts


  1. Great post, Sharon! I loved how you added the photos of wedding gifts; it made the text come alive, so to speak.

    1. Thanks Yvonne. I am surprised no one commented on my pink wedding dress :)

  2. Sharon, how wonderful to think of these gifts as a way to pass down your family heritage! What treasures you have already received--and I'm with you: I think those lamps are one and the same. And what a thought to consider how you will pass those items down to your grandchildren in generations yet to come.

    1. Thank you Jacqi. Yes I am very fortunate to have received these family items and hope that my children will one day appreciate them as much as I.

  3. What a lovely post Sharon revealing how special gifts make it down through the generations even if the story is lost. Love those rural newspapers wich tell you all about gifts, but indirecly about their network of relationships.

    1. Thank you Pauline. Yes it is wonderful what you can find in country newspapers, and it is also great that more and more of them are coming onto Trove instead of spending hours on a microfiche.

  4. Fascinating post Sharon. I LOVE those old lamps too. Mum had saucepans and a mixmaster just like that... and looks like a "Noritake" dinner set (in the middle) which I'm remembering were most highly regarded, in the 1960's, by my sister-in-law :-)
    Amazing that, in 1902, a list of presents AND the name of the "gifter" were published... clever you for finding it! Gave me lots of pleasure. Thanks! - Catherine

    1. Thank you Catherine.

      I like some of the gifts given too............Ham? Imagine if you gave ham to someone today!

  5. Awesome post, and how lucky you are to have these treasure. From experience I find that things are just things until you know the story behind them (like the dinner plates when you were growing up). Then they suddently take on a whole new meaning.

    1. Thanks Alona. You are right, it is the story behind the objects which makes them important.

  6. A great post Sharon. My mum also had saucepans and a mix master the same as yours :) Such wonderful stories and memories.