The Cedar Chest

Posted in Blog, CedarChest, short story | 18 comments

Antique Blue Cedar Chest

The Cedar Chest

I am a unique cedar chest.  My purpose is to keep priceless treasures safe and secure. Although other woods may grace my outside, inside, cedarwood lines my walls, bottom, and lid.  Cedarwood is a natural preservative that protects by keeping out moths and other insects.

In 1964, a young woman became my new owner. She refinished my exterior, changing the color to an antique blue, and I became her hope chest. The young woman would always keep me against the footboard of her bed.  Periodically, my lid opened, and she placed unique treasures inside my cedar walls.  Happiness was all around me, and I could always hear lots of laughter filling the air.

In 1968, my young woman opened me to place in new treasures, but this time with her was a young man. They seemed so happy and talked about their wedding, the young man being a soldier in the Army, and their pending move to Massachusetts.  I did not know what to make of these strange new treasures.  There were newspaper clippings, tiny rice bags tied with ribbon, small white engraved napkins, and many pictures, but I knew that my job was to do my very best to take care of these things.

Soon, I did not hear my young woman in the house and missed her laughter.  It seemed as if a lifetime went by, but then one day, I heard her and the young man’s voices again.  Laughter filled the air around me as they picked me up, then carried me to a pickup truck.  After a short drive, I was unloaded from the pickup then transported into a little white frame house.  Again, I sat against the footboard of a bed in a bedroom. This time the bed was shared by the young woman and young man.

The house was filled with laughter, happiness, and love between the young woman and young man for days.  Music and singing filled the home, and I am reasonably sure that there was dancing too. During this time, the young woman and young man opened my lid one more time and placed many more treasures inside me. They talked about living in Okinawa, Warmth, and happiness filled this home.

Suddenly one day, the laughter stopped, and there was only one voice heard in the house; it was the voice of the young woman.  A sense of sadness, heartache, and fear seemed to take over the house.

A box sat on my lid, and I could hear it being opened and closed at night.  Night after night, I listened to the muffled tears and prayers of the young woman but was helpless to help her.  I knew my job was to do my best to take care of the young woman and young man’s treasures inside my lined cedar walls.

Months passed, but the sounds of tears and words of prayers continued until late one night when the phone rang, waking the young woman. The fear in the bedroom skyrocketed to new heights as she rushed to answer the telephone, but quickly laughter and excitement filled the home again.  The young woman danced around the house, thanking God for answering her prayers while getting dressed, then she left.

Soon, I heard the young man’s voice in the house again, music played, and I heard singing plus the shuffling sounds of dancing feet. Much too soon, this ended, then once again, the sound of tears, heartache, and prayers returned to the home. Again I heard the box sitting on my lid open and close, over and over. More months passed, and the house was sad, but I did my job to keep their unique treasures safe.

One evening the phone rang again then the young woman’s laughter and excitement filled the house.   The young woman was singing and dancing through the home, repeating these words over and over, “Thank you, God, for bringing Frank home from Vietnam.”  Suddenly, the young woman opened my lid, then placed the box that had sat on top into my cedar-lined interior, then closed my lid. The next morning, I heard the young man’s voice again. Happiness, music, laughter, and love returned to the house once more.

The young man and woman moved many times through the years, always taking me with them to each new home, where  I would have a special place at the foot of their bed. I remained faithful in taking care of their treasures inside me, just waiting for the day they would reopen my lid. Years passed, but they did not open my cedar chest lid again.

One day I felt a terrible sadness fill their home, and many people came for days to visit. I heard many tears from all who entered the house. Once again, the young woman was praying and crying as if her heart had surely broken, and I never heard the young man’s voice again. Slowly and with time, the young woman accepted her loss and stopped crying as her heart began to mend, then she allowed the laughter to return to the home.

One day the young woman moved me into a new place, which was not at the foot of her bed but in a dark new home. Sometimes sunlight would enter my new home, and I could hear her voice and voices of others, young and old, but nobody came to open my lid. Although missing the young woman’s voice, I remained faithful, keeping the treasures inside me safe because I knew they were extraordinary.

Early one morning, I heard the young woman’s voice as she entered my home. She quickly unstacked the boxes that sat on top of my lid and opened my lid. She opened the box that she had placed so many years before inside me for safekeeping. I heard her exclaim with surprise in her voice, “His letters from Vietnam!” then she quickly closed my lid and left my house.

A few weeks later, two young men would enter my dark house and take me to a new home. In this new home, I would be opened many times by the young woman, and she would thank me, telling me what a fantastic job I had done keeping her treasures safe as she gently cleaned and polished my antique blue exterior.

Now, I listen to music, laughter, and a whole lot of typing going on. Sometimes tears and heartache are heard, but mostly I feel a deep, pure endless love in my new home.  Even though I do not understand what has happened to the young man and do not hear the young man’s voice, I can feel his presence and warm love filling the room.

Although growing older with age, I will continue to hold old and new treasures for my young woman, who has become much older.

I am a unique cedar chest.  Not only do I hold special treasures, but I have absorbed unique emotions and sounds. I am loved.


Visits: 13213


  1. You have breathed life into a family tradition. Are cedar chests still being treasured as in the past, or are memories just on cell phones or up in the cloud?

    • That is a very good question Chuck. So many things are now kept online. Our pictures, books,etc.
      I still think being able to open my cedar chest and actually see and touch my treasures from the past is so special.
      I have bought a cedar chest for my oldest Grandson and his wife. I think because I want them to have the same feeling when they open their cedar chest.
      God Bless You,

  2. Good post. As usual, you got me right in the feels.


    • Thank you, Jerry. I have was for some reason pulled to write this. I have never given a voice to an inanimate object, but thoughts kept running through my mind about what the Cedar Chest might have thought or heard if it had human emotions.
      Thank you for your comment. I really appreciate you.
      God Bless You,

  3. I love the way you have written this from the viewpoint of the cedar chest. I have never had my own cedar chest, but when my mother moved in with me, that was one of the special pieces of furniture I wanted to save. I also have a chair that originally was my grandmother’s and which my mother had had for years. God bless.

    • Diane, my cedar chest was my Mom’s. She gave it to me when I was in High School. I redid the exterior as a project for a Homemaking Class my Sophomore year. The cedar chest had been scorched in a fire when my parents home caught fire when I was three years old.
      I have a unique rocking chair too.
      Thank you for commenting and sharing Diane.
      God Bless You,

  4. Hmmmmm….if the walls could talk…. now we know what the chest would say. This was a most enjoyable read. Bless you for saving, and sharing the mementos and memories.

    • Yes, if the walls could talk, LOL! This blog was a different form of writing for me and a fun write. Thinking, I am going to broaden this cedar chest’s world. I am having so many thoughts of where this could go. This blog was actually a set up for the explanation of how I found the letters, but I see so much more now.
      Thank you for reading and commenting, Kim. Your opinion is very important to me.
      God Bless You,

  5. This is an intriguing monologue from the keeper of the treasures. What a unique perspective!

    In knowing your story, we now revisit it from an entirely different viewpoint. I love this!

    Your writing has reached depths I’m sure you never expected!… because of your obedience in saying yes to our God when He said….write your story!!

    A great read of a very moving story!

    • Thank you so much, Theresa. From rereading and typing from Frank’s letters, I genuinely know that inanimate objects hold energy and emotions. I thought it would be different to write from the point of the cedar chest as to what it might have heard and known. I have never written anything like this before, but I love it. I am in the process of expanding on the blog using it as an outline giving more insight into its journey.
      God Bless You, and I love you,

  6. Everything you write pulls heart strings.You are very talented. I hope I’m still around when your love story is on film. Would be a great Hallmark movie. Best of luck my friend. It’s in God’s hands. I’m very proud of you.You are amazing!!

    • Thank you so much Peggy. You have been by my side on this journey from the very beginning. You give me so much strength and courage.
      God Bless You my Sweet Friend.
      I love you,

  7. I never had a cedar chest. But after my hubby & lost everything in the Camp Fire (Paradise CA November 2018), I found one at a thrift store. It has a funky paint job on it, I believe it was used for a kids’ toybox. My hubby & I plan to strip it, sand it & put a nice coat of stain on it.
    I want to be able to place any new memories we have in it. Cause the old memories are just gone. Turned to ash & hauled away in so many debris trucks to only God knows where.

    • I am so glad you found a Cedar Chest. I have had this one for 54 years and I painted it an antique blue because it had been scorched in a house fire when I was a child.
      My Cedar Chest has kept my treasures in pristine condition
      Thank you so much for your comment and reading my short story.
      God Bless You.

  8. Wonderful story told from the cedarchest view. Sad yet Happy

    • Thank you so much. A true story of the essence of my Memoir.
      God Bless You,

  9. Such a lovely short story! 🥰 Your chest is beautiful! How old is your cedar chest, Nancy?

    • The cedar chest was given to me by my Mom when I was 16and it had been given to her by my Grandmother. I know it is over 80 years old.
      I painted it blue after Mom gave it to me as a home economics project because it had been scorched in a fire when our home burned when I was two.
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting Vicki.
      God Bless you,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.