The Legacy


I’ve always been thrilled when I’ve picked up an old book and found a yellowed note or a dried flower, something personal from a previous owner, tucked inside.  Someone put it there; why? I don’t know, but it always takes my imagination on a trip back in time. So, whenever I can, I put something in my old books, a bookmark, a tiny watercolor, a dried flower from my garden.

  Once I was browsing through an antique store in Vermont and I saw a box on the back of a dusty, dark shelf and started thinking how much I would LOVE it

if I picked the box up . . .

. . . . and instead of being empty, as they always are, how great it would be if this one was filled with beautiful old paper things . . . vintage place cards, menus, gift notes, postcards, old Christmas cards; I dreamed that when I lifted off the lid, it might look something like this and be filled with vintage papers, old stamps and postcards, what is called ephemera . . . transitory bits of paper history.

What a find that would be!  Like buried treasure, a time capsule, like discovering a bottle on the beach with a note in it!  I would wonder about the person who collected all that stuff; why did she do it? Where did she live; what did she do; I would look for clues in the box.  I would hope there might be photos or something with her handwriting on it, I would take it apart and examine every little bit. It would be like a diary!  A mystery!

In my heart,  I knew it wasn’t likely to happen. Buried treasure is hard to come by, although that’s never stopped me from examining the floorboards in my old New England house just in case.  But I had opened too many empty boxes in antique stores, and no matter how buried they were, they’ve always been empty.  And I’ve always been just a little bit disappointed.  I want treasure!

So about twenty years ago, I decided I may never find a box full of treasure, but I could make one, just the way I imagined it, the way I always hoped it would be. I picked out a box I liked, and slowly began to fill it.  I have all kinds of stationery in it now, little bits and pieces I’ve collected over the years . . . almost anything evocative that would fit in a box . . . a wishbone, a bottle of red ink, an embroidered bookmark, a champagne cork with my birthday written on it, small pencil sketches I did for pages of my books, ticket stubs, and postage stamps, they’re all there.

There’s an enamel refrigerator magnet shaped like a champagne bottle with “2000” on it, a seed packet, stickers, old recipe cards, lavender soap leaves, a postcard I wrote home from Paris; I also put in things I found in antique stores that were already old . . . And some personal stuff like this . . .



Pieces of a tea cup with birds on it that fell and broke in the San Simeon earthquake in 2003; in an envelope.






And this little watercolor was part of a painting that I didn’t like, so I cut off the good part, signed the back and dated it, and into the box it went.

After a while, I had to get another box.  The first one was full.  So there are two.  Now, these boxes are my own little time capsules.

  I’m making them for the future.  A legacy.  Like Easter eggs I’m hiding in the bushes for someone to find.  Someday a long time from now, someone will be walking through an antique store wishing she could find a treasure trove, a little magic.  Maybe she will have kids, she will be working too hard, has taken a moment out of a busy day for a bit of escape.  She will think that wishing for hidden treasure is not asking too much.  She’ll see a dusty old box high on a shelf and pull it down, and it will be heavy, her heart might skip a beat, and she will think, is it treasure?  And her answer will be yes.   

129 Responses to The Legacy

  1. Laura from England says:

    What a lovely article. I have always collected ticket stubs, postcards, decorative chocolate wrappers, pretty tissues and other little personal things too nice to throw away and kept them in wicker boxes or tins. I don’t look through them often, maybe every couple of years or so when I take out things which I don’t know why I ever put there in the first place, but it is just so full of memories and prettiness. My family of course think I ‘m mad to keep what many would term ‘rubbish’, but I like it!

  2. Robyn Genau says:

    Thank you Susan for helping me decide what to do with all those little things. My Mom passed in April and I have many of her things I can’t bear to part with or even look at right now. It makes me sad. Thank you for the inspiration. In not such a long time from now they will make me smile and remember. Robyn

  3. Sara says:

    Oh, my, Susan… what lovely, lovely thoughts! What a generous heart you have to ‘see’ the finder of your first treasure box as someone who needs to find it–and will inherently love its contents sight unseen–someone whose spirit will mirror your own. The lid lifted, her eyes will alight on the tiny rolling pin, and with unexpected tears, she will realize at once how rich she truly is. Sensing more hidden truth within, she will replace the lid and pay the full price with no dickering.

    And later, when the house is quiet, it will seem right to fix a cup of tea and contemplate what lays hidden in the lovely old box waiting on the dining room table. Smiling over every prize revealed, she spreads the bounty of the box before her, sometimes laughing in merriment, sometimes shedding a tear–and always wondering about, yet knowing in part, the one whose box it was.

    Your collection, Susan, squirreled away over the years, likely will be shared over and over again, and best of all will inspire others, as it does this girlfriend, to create her own, as yet undiscovered, legacy.

    Thank you, Susan, for sharing your legacy with us. We girlfriends are all the richer, because you know how much it means to wish and hope and find!


    • sbranch says:

      I hope she feels lucky. Lucky in this, spreads to lucky in many things.

    • Lesley from California says:

      I loved reading Sara’s beautifully written comment to Susan. I have a very special box containing ticket stubbs, playbills, photos, newspaper cut-outs of poems, handwritten recipes, sketches of clothes to make for her children….all from my Nana who died when I was 4 years old. I don’t remember her but feel a close connection because she saved the things so dear to her.

  4. CarolK in Cent'l Jersey says:

    I have a memory box for both mine and my husband’s parents and put little items in there that were their’s. Old photos, pieces of paper, a pin, a tie tack. It’s a Valentine from them that we can look at and remember and then later pass on to the next generation so that they might get to know who their ancestors were. Everyone should have a memory box or two or three to leave behind……..Thank you for a lovely blog………

  5. Jo says:

    Well, I have the stuff and now you’ve shown me the way to hold it near and not be frustrated by it, hide it pretty!
    Thank you for the joy you spread.
    P.S. Soup for breakfast, what a good idea but how did you train your taste buds to say, yah not nay?

    • sbranch says:

      I got tired of the same old breakfast thing and suddenly realized there are no rules about breakfast! It was a revelation!

      • Terrie from Atlanta, GA says:

        Me, too ~ but my “breakfast taste buds” began calling for homemade applesauce, or leftover pie, even the occasional grilled cheese sammy on raisin toast. Frozen yogurt with fruit and good granola, too. Bean soup (that makes you toot!) never even crossed my mind. Maybe it’s a New England thing, y’all?!?

  6. Ruth Steele says:

    We are kindred spirits, Susan…I hang on my Christmas tree every year a little cardboard ornament, sent to us soon after we were married 55 years ago by my Aunt Gertrude, she cared for her baby brother, just out of high school, as they said goodbye to both parents within a year…I was his oldest child years later, and I have tiny, sweet memories of the 6 years he and our dear mom tenderly raised 5 of us, before he died in an accident. My aunt was a dear reminder of him as she would love on us with tiny reminders of her care. She’s been gone for over 40 years, who would have known how much this tiny piece of paper would mean to me forever more. Scrapbooking is one of my dearest activities. I shall now think upon your sweet suggestion…I have ever so many reminders…to leave this gift for another…

  7. Martha Ellen of VA says:

    Dear Susan, what a lovely idea–scrapboxing….My husband and I were talking today about cleaning out all the items we have saved forever. Things that we think only mean something to us. What in the world do we do with all the bits and pieces of our lives? Our grandson will be coming to live with us this fall while he goes to college and we must make room for his things. Now I know what I will do with all the bits and pieces —make a treasure box for someone to discover one day…..I love this! xoxo ♥

  8. I used to live in a old farm house on 1 1/2 acres in my early 20’s on Collins Street in the San Fernando Valley. They had started to build apartments on the street and one by one the old houses were being demolished. there was one abandoned house I particularly liked and would go look at all the old plants, a huge glider,a shed that was full of old canning supplies, tools, furniture, etc. I took lots of it home down the street before the bulldozers came. I found a box, opened it, and it was full of letters, Score! I took it home and could not wait to read some. They were from a young woman in England during World War 2 to her mother that used to live in the house. They had been “Censored” because the letters on pretty stationary had sections meticulously cut out. I spent one wonderful summer reading hundreds of letters like a soap opera. I will never forget that. Some drawings and old photograph negatives I could hold up to the light were there also. One day I went down and there was a couple of women sitting on the porch one very old and one middle aged. I went on in and introduced myself, It was the 2 from the letters. They had come back to see their old home one more time, because it was scheduled to be demo’ed the next week. I did not tell them about the letters, just that I had been feeding the wild cats that were living there. It was something I will never forget.

    • Anita says:

      What a great story!

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Absolutely – a terrific story! And what a valuable addition they could be to a history project. Sandie, please consider making copies and contacting one [or more] of the these groups. There are literally 100s – just Google “World War 2 Letters.”

        • Lesley from California says:

          Janet, so glad that you made the Google “World War 2 Letter” suggestion. After my mother died I found a box full of letters which my parents had written to one another during the war. My mothers writes about waiting every day for the postman. She has received a letter from my dad telling her to watch for a special package. And when it comes, she writes back to my dad in such excitement about the silver compact which he sent. I now have that compact. It and the letters are such treasures.

    • Patti says:

      I learned from my New England parents that pie for breakfast was a New England custom, mainly practiced by farmers who had done hours of work by breakfast time. Whenever I have leftover homemade pie for breakfast, I definitely use the “New England custom” excuse and think fondly of my parents! I should put that memory in my box! I was a CA girl born and raised in the San Fernando Valley after they left NJ, but I do so remember and love their stories of N.E. I think the west coast/east coast connection is one of the things that endears me to Susan Branch!

  9. Maria says:

    @ Jo: “Hide It Pretty” — that should be a name for a line of scrapbooking items..:) Susan, I think what I like best about your work , your blog, etc., is how you cherish the “smalls.” The bits and pieces of life that make it worth remembering, memorializing, sanctifying. Thank you so much..!!

  10. Janet in Rochester says:

    I can’t express how much I LOVE that watercolor here – the Francis Thompson quote above. Sue, have you ever considered doing a series of your favorite quotes? Watercolored in your “hand” – like this one?? I have your “summer/winter apple tree” set from the webstore that I matted & framed – Winter’s on my desk right now. I’d be first in line to do the same with quotes like this. I love JUST the lettering – it doesn’t even need any other artwork. They’d make such interesting additions to a desk, on an office wall, in a powder room, near a store checkout etc etc. I could think of a hundred places! Real conversation starters! You wouldn’t need even a manufacturer, would you? Just a good little printer somewhere? Of course I’m clueless on this – not my area at all – just guessing.

    • sbranch says:

      Would be fun to do them on nice paper in a book with the pages perforated . . .

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Oh, yes PLEASE! Sign me up for multiple sets – because I forgot to mention what great gifts they could be too. I don’t remember if the Francis Thompson one is in one of your books but if it is, I want to go get another copy of that book somewhere – JUST to slice that page out & frame it. THAT’S how much I love it. I just LOVE the way it looks. A series on a wall would be so impressive. Or a single one on a desk, maybe changed every so often. Or not. Just a very unique thing – I can just hear the dialogues that would get started… say, at the window of the dentist’s reception area…. Of course a lot would depend on the quote – but you are the Grand Master of finding the best quotes.

    • Mamey Brown from Upstate NY says:

      I second this idea!! I would LOVE this!!!! Maybe once the new book comes out you will have…..

  11. Marie says:

    I found a cute little box and saved it because it was cute, now it has a purpose! Thank you so much

    • sbranch says:

      And so it begins . . . 🙂

    • Judy Young says:

      This is a lovely idea! A friend gave me a birthday gift recently (antique linens and a couple of old china tea cups) in a beautiful hat box that is a khaki color and covered in white polka dots. There is a beautiful burlap rose on one side of the top. It’s perfect for a “scrapbox”. So now, I am having fun finding things I have stashed to put in it. A couple of handmade birthday cards, a recipe written in my mother-in-law’s handwriting (she was 90), an old photograph, a couple of old Valentines, a beautiful old gift tag with a rhinestone on it, and so on. Such fun. It’s a shame I have to work (I’m 68), would love to just stay home and play house. Susan, you give us the greatest ideas. Thank you!!

  12. Marian says:

    How precious. You’re such an inspiration. I think I’m going to do that too. I love finding treasure like that also. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought about doing the same thing. The Bible says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That could also mean leaving treasures behind for someone in a distant time. Thank you so much for the idea.

  13. Dawn (in Illinois) says:

    Susan, your time capsule is such a wonderful treasure!! Years ago, when I just started to restore my home, I decided to hide a time capsule in the house. My dad and I were putting the trim back up in the pantry, after stripping the woodwork. It was the perfect place to hide a time capsule, over the doorway between some wood framing. I tucked in original pictures of the house, a newspaper from 1922 when the house was built, and my handwritten history of the three families who have lived here. Then we screwed on the last piece of trim with bright shiny screws, since the rest of the trim was nailed. Hopefully, in the future, another old house lover will notice the shiny screws and be curious enough to find out why they are there! They will find a little treasure from the past!! ♡ As you know, loving and caring for an old house is such a wonderful legacy to leave behind!
    Warm hugs,

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Dawn, you did a buried treasure in your house. I just love it! Behind boards here when Joe was fixing walls, we found signatures on the wooden frame and dates from the 1880’s but I would LOVE to find your box! See that’s what I call making magic. Gives me chills to think of the people finding it.

      • Dawn (in Illinois) says:

        I know. It’s always so great to discover a vintage treasure or happy surprise in an old house! The tiniest little things become so special. I knew I had to add a little magic of my own! Hmmm… maybe we should open the time capsule and add a few more things! It’s been hidden for 25 years already. Susan, you are such a great inspiration in my life. Kindred spirits! ♡♡

        • Elaine in Toronto says:

          When my husband was renovating our bathroom at the farm he found an old violin nestled in between the rafters. The next Thanksgiving there was a knock at our door and it was a man and his wife. He had been one of six children raised in our house. We invited them in and heard lots of stories. We kept in touch and gave him back the violin (he had always wondered what had happened to it) plus a painting of the farmhouse done by my husband. He was thrilled to get them. Sadly, he passed away only a few years later. He in turn gave us a photo of his family taken when they lived here. Lovely to reach across the years and touch hearts.

          • sbranch says:

            And how wonderful you will have that photo to go with the house someday! Must have been wild to find that violin.

  14. Laura Jenkins says:

    Those who say there is no such thing as time travel have never opened a memory box and, as each memento is examined, felt the instant transportation to a time, a moment, a person, a place…I have been creating these for years and the time machine works the same every time..xo I fear this generation is losing out…there is no link with the past that is inspired by the smell or feel of a iGadget. New word..just made it up…LOL

  15. Joan Lesmeister says:

    I love this blog and the treasure boxes are so wonderful & creative! You always amaze me, I can hardly wait to read your books, and get to the computer, as I never tire of your beautiful words and cleverness! ♥

  16. Sweet Sue says:

    Good Afternoon Susan!
    I was browsing through your website and clicked on “The Legacy” under Home Sweet Home. As I read about and saw pictures of your “treasures” box tears came to my eyes as I realized right then and there that that was exactly what I should do for others who have touched my life in meaningful ways over the years. You see in November 2012 I was diagnosed with cancer and life and my perspective on it has totally changed since then. I went through 2 surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatment. The scans showed no cancer in June 2013 yet in November 2013 the scans showed a scattering of cancer cells. I am undergoing another type of chemotherapy and this one has been a bit harder on my body than the previous one. This month on March 17th I will have scans again to see about the status of the cancer. So I live from day to day, week to week , month to month and year to year valuing each day as a precious gift which it is. 🙂 I discovered your blogs a few months ago and they have been uplifting, inspiring and encouraging to keep me keeping on.
    In the meantime I have been trying to spend quality time with others and do for others as much as I can for the greatest thing I will miss when I do leave this earth (which I pray will not be for a very long time) will be giving to and doing for others. So although my husband & I have a momento box we put cards, poems, and cherished items in I thought that the best “gift” I could give to others especially those far away would be to prepare “treasure” boxes with items from the heart that would be a part of me I could pass on and share with those God has placed in my life and given me great joy in relationship with. I will make a list of those that God puts on my heart to do treasure boxes for, gather boxes, get some beautiful antique wrapping paper from a local store to cover them with and then start putting these special boxes together. At this point I am not sure exactly what will go in each of these boxes yet I am sure if I was inspired to do these “treasure” boxes to begin with that it will come to me what to put in the boxes for each person, couple and/or family.
    Thanks Susan for being an inspiration… have brought joy to my life that I have and will continue to share with others! Thank you for the gift of YOU! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Of all the things I received when my Grandma passed on, the thing I wanted most and treasure is one of her cooking spoons … it’s half wood and half pewter, not worth a dime to anyone but me, but she stirred a thousand batches of her famous Molasses Cookies with that spoon. In my imagination her giving heart is fused to that spoon and I love it. That’s the kind of thing to put in your treasure boxes, the things you’ve used or loved or have thought were beautiful.

      You are an inspiration Sue, when you leave a comment, your joy in life is palpable. I would never have known you are facing such challenges. I’m sending a big deeply-felt prayer for the happiest possible St. Patrick’s Day for you and yours.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        What a joy and blessing to open “The Legacy” blog and read your response to what I shared with you yesterday.
        Yes, I agree with you that the best items to go in the “treasure boxes” would be items I have used, loved or thought were beautiful as these would mean the most to others just as you shared how much the wood /pewter spoon of your grandma’s means to you.
        Right now I am working on putting together some “purse gifts” for local battered women’s shelter (I found some gently used purses and scarves while in the Santa Ynez Valley as they have a plethora of great thrift stores there…I will then place a selection of toiletries in each purse and then tie a pretty scarf around the handle of each purse. 🙂 ). Then I will be putting together some spring gifts for Easter for friends and relatives and then……I will start putting together the “treasure boxes”.
        Thank you for your heartfelt thoughts and prayers. I set the appointment yesterday for the scans for the morning of the 17th. My husband is taking the day off to be with me so after the scans we will go have a St Patrick’s Day lunch somewhere. Then on the 21st we will meet with the oncologist for follow-up to hear the results and how to then proceed.
        Thanks Susan….I will keep you posted on how the “treasure boxes” turn out and on how I am doing. Nice to have a friend across the miles to share such things with. Hug..Hug.. 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          All my best to you Sue, and to your husband. Have fun putting together your treasures!

        • Susan P says:

          Sweet Sue. My thoughts and allot of prayers are with you. I will follow your response on St. Patricks Day also. I see your comments on most of the blogs so I feel like I know you….thru the internet. And like Susan Branch says you are so positive and you do so much for others….you are inspiration to many. Take care and know that you are loved by many especially God. Lots of love and prayers, Susan P.

          • Sweet Sue says:

            Just went onto “The Legacy” blog to see if anyone had discovered it lately and lo and behold another Susan…..Susan P. 🙂 Thank you for what you shared…most appreciated.
            If you would like to email me personally you can do so at: [email protected] The scans I was to have had were actually postponed until next Monday, March 24th as the approval from insurance company did not come through until yesterday. Yet since my sweet Dusty and I already had the 17th off we spent it having a great St Patrick’s Day….see my comment on “Wearin of the Green” blog. 🙂
            So…scans again on March 24th and then follow-up on March 31st with oncologist for results which or may not result in further chemo depending on test results. I am at peace about it all and along with my hubby am believing for the best. 🙂 In the meantime I have completed my spring/easter/resurrection day cards and gifts and have them all ready to be distributed and/or mailed. Next I am working on cards and gifts to be packaged for mailing for April, May, June & July and then….I will start working on “treasure boxes” for loved ones following ideas on this blog and response from Susan B which was so helpful.
            Your 1999-2000 treasure box sounds wonderful!
            Remember “This is the day the Lord has made…let us rejoice and be glad in it!” JOY TO YOU THIS DAY!

          • Susan P. says:

            Susan, Thanks for passing on Sweet Sue’s e mail address for me. I have been in contact as she has to. The GREAT and FUNNY thing is she works not far from where I live…about 10 min. What a small world this really is. Your blog brought us together and that is very special..I wonder how many other girlfriends you have connected. Thanks again, Susan P.

          • sbranch says:

            That’s so nice to hear!

  17. Susan P says:

    Susan, Truly love the “treasure boxes”…..I have more or less been doing this also for years. I did one for our big 1999 New Years Eve Party into the New Century etc etc etc. From pictures to the napkins I made for the party to the invite and of course a journal for the whole year of 2000. I even wrote in it to my grandchildren and my great and great great grandchildren…..I had read the book Captain and the Kings (Think that is the right name) when I was around 25, but in the book they celebrated the New Year of 1900 with a big party or I should say Ball. Well I always wanted to do the same. Well if you dream it can happen and with allot of talking about for years with my family we “ALL” pulled it off. What a night I will never forget it,,,,from 9PM to 3AM we partied and danced into the morning of 2000. We all contributed for the big Party. From real invites from one sister to flowers from the real cloth napkins and twinkle lights every where to the dance floor, to a tent and heaters (as you can see it was held outside)…and all the awesome food. As I read this it sounds like we live on some huge place….but no, just in little Westchester by the airport where I grew up and my brother still lives. If you remember there was no planes that night…and the strangest noise of all was the quietness…. We all dressed up also, the men and even the young boys all wore suits and ties and the women nice gowns even the little princesses had their gowns on…. so I put it all in a special tin box in the back of my closet….when I am gone they will find it, What fun they will have hopefully. Thanks for letting me share. These boxes can be important and so nice and of course just allot of fun….I love doing them. Thanks again for all the great ideas and gifts you give to us all. Love Susan P.

  18. Amy Starr Van Duzen says:

    I love your ephemera box! I feel that collecting bits and pieces of our life experiences is fun and important to pass on, a time capsule of sorts, and always check used books or vintage clothing pockets for hidden treasures. I was surprised to see your note and pieces of broken cups from the San Simeon earthquake of 2003 in there! I live in Morro Bay, not far from San Simeon and remember the earthquake well. Did you live in the area at the time? I knew you were raised in Southern Cal as a young girl, but assumed you’d lived on the East Coast since moving to Martha’s Vineyard. Just curious…

    • sbranch says:

      Oh I have deep California roots — I lived in SLO for eleven years before I came to the island…and Arroyo Grande for several also (kind of went back and forth for a few years), where I even had a store on Branch Street for 3 years. We were in AG for the earthquake and I still have a house there.

  19. Bobbi says:

    I think you make everything fun!! Thank you!

    Good luck with your blizzard of the week.

  20. Barbara from the beach says:

    Oh Susan! I found my legacy and it was in one of your books! I have “Girlfriends” and had put a couple of post-it notes in the back cover when I went shopping for one of your recipes. Well, 10 years passed. I lost my husband Walter, sadly. Then, one day I was looking in “Girlfriends” for that recipe. There were the post-it notes, and on the bottom of each was written…..Kiss Barbara…..Hug Barbara….Kiss and hug Barbara…..Sweettalk Barbara….in his wonderful handwriting.
    You can imagine! They are still inside your book and it will always be a magic moment….when I found the notes.

  21. Nancy Mosley says:

    What an absolutely wonderful idea! It would be fun if all your readers or whomever wanted to did something like that and then an exchange of boxes could begin. How fun would that be!!! I know a blog Prairie a Flower Farm that does a yearly seed exchange. Everyone interested sends their name and she pairs up the people and they have to be good and send each other a surprise seed packet.

    Anyway, you truly inspire with your ideas. A gift in a box. I like it! I don’t know if your box would make it to the store — I would imagine the finder of the box would be the keeper!!!

  22. Jane F. says:

    What a great idea, Susan! I have bits and pieces of this and that all over,too. I think I’ll begin a memory box! You are full of such great ideas!! And then we can do them, too. You save us so much “thinking” time!! 🙂

  23. Rae Ann R...back in Michigan...forever... says:

    What a wonderful idea…your treasure boxes…I’m going to start boxes for each of my children and grandchildren…since we are still unpacking…we’re old and the energy for unpacking wanes…I’m finding things I’ve saved from my children’s elementary, middle, high school and college years…with no real “plan” for the things, I’ve just tucked them away everywhere…I will collect them all in separate special boxes for them…thanks for your inspiration, Susan…waiting for some kind of winter storm to arrive here this Thursday…have my bunnies and Easter goodies ready to go…xoxo…

  24. Diane Gasior says:

    Dear Susan,
    I started one of these boxes for each of the children, when they were small. Now 25 and 27, I love to look through them every now and then and reminisce. My favorite so far, is the letter our daughter left us one evening on the kitchen counter. “Dear Parental Unit”, Why I should be allowed to have Steve over to watch TV. It went on with very valid reasons and I do believe I “caved”. They were 14 then and now at 25 are still very good friends though they live in apart in Michigan and North Carolina and only get to see each other once a year. I do believe that there are tokens of their friendship in the box as well. Memory boxes are grand.

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, Parental Unit! My mom saved a three page letter I wrote them begging to go to a party one time. Twenty five excellent reasons why I should be allowed to go! 🙂

  25. Holly Ward says:

    My Girlfriend and I have Bee Boxes. Inside we keep things that we have found and have saved for each other, feathers, stones, and old stamp with a flower on it, etc. Just things that we treasure. It is so fun to go through them together when we travel to see each other. I know that souls connect on levels of intimacy that can only be imagined and when this happens we call them Girlfriends!

    Love keeping up with you-you too are a special soul.

  26. Kathleen says:

    Oh yes, I will create a treasure box this very year, and I will mark it with the name of my newborn grandniece. then I will create one every year for each and every one of my nephews and nieces and all the grands as they come along. If the future allows them to find the treasures, fine and wonderful. If not, perhaps someone in need of mysterious treasures will discover exactly what their heart desires.

  27. Julia says:

    Enjoyed this blog today, not sure how I missed it originally. I have to smile, as I guess I have been unconsciously doing this my whole life. A cigar box here, a quilted box there, etc. My girls will have quite an assortment to go through in the future. When they were each born I bought a large cardboard box that we would call their “special” box where treasures beginning from birth and up could be kept. I find a lot of joy in mementos of the past ( a lot of hopes for the future are there). I don’t often speak up but I have really enjoyed your blog since I first discovered it and appreciate you sharing your gifts and talents. Have a blessed day.

  28. What a wonderful treasure! I love how you are envisioning someone finding your boxes years from now. Maybe I will have to do a few too. I don’t have children so I am always trying to find other ways to plant the tree of life.
    P.S. I have a cousin who lives in AG- she loves it! You lucky gals! <3

  29. sherrill says:

    Oh, Susan, in your box I saw a paper-cutout of one of my favourite teacups!!! Masons ” Blue and White” !!! I had a set that I bought back in the early ’90’s. Guess from where??? Crabtree and Evelyn! It’s one of my very favourite patterns. At the time I couldn’t buy the creamer ( jug) because it wasn’t available here. When I went to England, we ( my son, daughter-in- law, and two grands who live there) went to Sheffield and went to the Mall so I could go to Crabtree there. I bought the jug, sugar bowl and preserves dish!!
    Since that time I have given some of my dishes to my daughters; that set was one of them, but I still love it! But, I still have the lovely big fruit bowl. Someday, of course, I will give that to Sarah as well. I loved seeing that cut- out with the teabag in. They used to be around all the time.
    I never know what I’m going to see on your site; I just know that I always love it!! Thank you so much ~~~ Sherrill in Connecticut
    P.S. I hear that you’re in for a big snow storm. Be safe.

  30. Sandy from Ca. says:

    What a wonderful post Susan 🙂 I keep all of my cards from my “Girlfriends” and have 3 boxes so far but wish I had thought of this years ago and not gotten rid of the cards my Family, now passed on, had sent to me <3. I am now writing to my Grandchildren in each card I send to them and my daughter keeps them so they will always have memories of me their Grandma Princess(my 4 year old Granddaughter named me this 🙂 ) and be able to have them after they have grown 🙂

  31. Susan ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

    I think that now there will be treasure boxes lovingly created everywhere. It’s such a lovely thought. To find the unexpected and to imagine – off go our minds on their flights of fancy! Have you heard of the blog Forgotten Bookmarks? It’s about this very topic. I believe the creator of that blog also has a book out by that same title. One of my best finds was at an Antiquarian Book Sale. I found a copy of Stillmeadow and Sugarbridge that was inscribed by Sugarbridge’s Barbara Webster along with a sketch by her illustrator husband Edward Shenton. Needless to say, it came home with me!

  32. Marilyn says:

    How I would love finding one of these boxes.
    Funny, but I have the same kittie in your first box all tucked away.
    Now he must go in a box I do believe. I have a little tin I have saved secrets there. Now a box must be on the agenda.

  33. Judy Johnson Parkman says:

    Your sweet story just made my day! I have always kept special little things that mean much to me, and I hope someday someone will find them and consider them treasures. I have several ‘keeper’ boxes filled with little trinkets, greeting cards, sweet notes, maybe a button or two, a bookmark, a piece of pretty ribbon, most anything that makes my heart pitter patter just a little bit faster. I like to leave a little something in a book, too, before I return it to the library. You have given me many smiles today! <3

  34. patti says:

    love the idea of a box of memories .. i also like finding things and one of my favorites is a gift tag . my mom would save the little tags with her jewelry, books and other gifts. it’s been so nice now that she’s gone to find these little reminders in her things 🙂

  35. Elizabeth in Montana says:

    Loved this post. My grandmother saved all the valentines, party invitations, etc. that my father received as a little boy (he was born in 1914) and they are so dear…lots of Dolly Dingle-type characters and beautiful graphics…I treasure them. Also, Susan, I wanted to thank you and everyone for all the wonderful birthday greetings my mom received for her 90th birthday in November. I bought a memory box at Michael’s and decorated it with old-fashioned stickers, and we filled it with the cards and gave it to her on her birthday…she was so surprised! We spent several days reading through them all…so many, and so varied…watercolors, one that looked like an actual cake, and so many more beautiful ones…she was overwhelmed and it really pleased her. She is still not too well, at the moment she is battling weight loss and breathing problems, but she wanted you and all the Girlfriends to know how much your kindness meant to her. We get the box out periodically and look at them all again. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for making her celebration so special.

  36. Kari says:

    I have carved cedar boxes that my mother kept. In them I have old hankies, my father’s WWII memorabilia, my parents’ last drivers licenses, and other little things that I can’t part with.

  37. Kirsten in So. Cal. says:

    I have several boxes like yours. I can’t help it. Everything in them means so much to me! Once I lived in a really OLD house and found someone else’s box hidden in the eves over the garage. It contained letters and postcards over 100 years old!! At that same house, I found old China burried in the garden! I really loved that old house. I’ve saved several hat boxes full of my own sentimental things for many years. My children don’t seem interested in any of it. My hope is that someone that loves a treasure hunt will find mine.

  38. suzie says:

    You are my inspiration…today I start my box of treasures. I was given a beautiful box s few years ago and I now know why, its a perfect idea. Love you Susan.

  39. Linda Smith says:

    So fun to hear about your memory boxes. I have something similar that I have had in my life of memories and treasures. My great grandmother had a ” curiosity jar.” Whenever we went to visit that was the first thing we wanted!!! It was a old clear jar that was filled with all sorts of treasures. Little toys , trinkets, things she had found on walks in her home state of Oklahoma. There were so many cute things to look at. The “lid” was a giant marble. It was the highlight of our visit and she had usually added a new treasure to the jar in between our visits. Needless to say I started my own jar…… which I still have and now my grandchildren have them as well. We all delight in finding and adding new treasures. “Curiosity Jar” ….. equals LOVE!!

  40. peg says:

    Oh, those treasures! I, too, have a box (not as lovely as yours) that is loaded with snippets, trinkets and miscellaneous ‘stuff’. I must confess, I had never thought about someone (other than me) exploring those layers of keepsakes. What would they think, I am now asking myself. I suppose I can equate the box to my scrapbooks which are more organized and have some semblance of order. Though, with the box, there IS mystery! And, I’m sure there is a segue…a train of thought if you will…on how those pieces will all connect if one studies them long enough! I’m going to bet that there are many FOSB who are right now looking for that perfect box to stash their treasures in. Hmmm….are you following me here? Maybe there needs to be a Susan Branch Treasure Box? See how this happens? But, still…what a grand idea, don’t you think???

    I’m off to the studio to visit my box…it has been a while…..and there, dear friend, will go the afternoon! ♥

  41. Shirley Graham says:

    I have a box with fairies on it that my daughter gave me with something in it of course. I keep it on my dresser. I read your new book too and loved it. Also have your calendar & love it too! My daughter and I always look at my Summer cookbook that I have and love the drawings all over again. I can’t find another word that expresses like “love” I guess. Please keep drawing your drawings. We look forward to them! Thank you!

  42. Roseann Copeland says:

    I found the “Legacy” blog via face book, but I couldn’t find it on the blog site. How do I do that? I love this blog too. Oh what a wonderful idea you have shared with us. I am already thinking about making and hiding a time capsule box up in the attic.
    I still need to know how do I get to the “Legacy” blog from the site directly.

    • sbranch says:

      This actually is the Legacy post on my blog (as far as I can see from this side of the screen!).

      • sherrill says:

        It was on FB for me, too. Not from a blog on your site; your most recent blog was the Tour. ~~ Sherrill

        • sbranch says:

          It’s on my blog site too (if we’re talking about the same thing)… if you go to the top of the page and put your cursor on HOME SWEET HOME, you’ll see a drop down and in there is The Legacy. Kellee put the link on FB.

  43. Linda L says:

    What fun! You need to read the wonderful book “Prayer Box” by Lisa Wingate.
    Linda L. In Texas

  44. Marsha MacLean says:

    I loved that phrase about being “so little that the elves can reach to whisper in your ear” !!!!
    Susan, once again, you’ve outdone your self with this lovely post.
    I sometimes think I have too much ephemera, waiting to make it into a special journal or box.. But, it brings such happy memories to pull out something you haven’t seen in a long while, just for the joy of it!
    Recently, I did just that, and found a journal my dad wrote in 1981, telling about coming to America in 1911, as a youngster! I don’t think I had read it, cover to cover, for 20 years…and as it was in a box of ephemera, I had sorta lost it. He has been gone since Christmas of 1981, so it has been awhile since I heard his voice, but it really came through in print.
    What a treasure!
    He always wrote in all capital letters, and this hand printed book couldn’t be more dear to me if it were written on tablets of gold! He speaks in it of traveling across the country all the way to California.
    I think it would be wonderful if we all took to doing that very thing…just like all your journals/diaries. But even if it is a tale told in retrospect, what a treasure for our children, or some special person, to find!
    Thank you so much for your inspiration,
    Love, Marsha

  45. Deanna Briscoe says:

    As always, you have inspired me! I usually put all my memory bits and pieces in a drawer or box but you’ve inspired me to make a lovely place to collect them and wait for someone to find this little piece of my life. I’ve always saved pictures and stories from past generations. I’ve always saved thank you notes, announcements, special cards and notes from those I love. It’s always good to remember what is really important-family, friends, love, memories and the richness of the past. Thank you for the inspiration! Love you!

  46. Shelley says:

    I have been blessed to come across a few boxes like that in my wanderings… you said….they were wonderful treasures when first exploring them. Yours is quite lovely. I have boxes filled with letters and cards from a dear pen pal,and others as well. Blessings

  47. Diane V. says:

    I think I just found a use for the old hatboxes I’ve been collecting! I was going to scrapbook all the “bits and pieces” I’ve been keeping because they were too special to throw out, but was intimidated by the project. Now I see I can “scrap” without the “book”!

    I recently uncovered a treasure left by my mother who passed away two years ago. It was a box of her school memories…how special it was to see my mom in a different way. You just can’t put a price on that!

  48. Theresa Libby says:

    Susan, You just brought back a wonderful memory for me. When I was about ten years old my aunt Sylvia bought the contents of our elderly neighbors home, who was now in a nursing home (sad). While my aunt was cleaning it out I was in the attic with her looking through some boxes. Well I found this wonderful box just packed with ribbons. Every color you could imagine! Different lengths. My aunt told me I could have them. I wore those ribbons in my hair everyday and just cherished them for the longest time! I now own tons of different ribbons of my own. I think I will find a beautiful old box and put some in there with this story in hopes that someone will find my time capsule of beautiful old ribbons someday! Thanks for the idea!

  49. Denise of Coffeeberry Cottage says:

    Yes,Iv’e made many of those boxes through the years and it’s so fun looking for them too.The only difference is I’m hoping My four daughters and/or Grandchildren will find them interesting at least but I was hoping they would really find them enchanting.I have also given them beautiful empty boxes for Christmas and told them with a note….that the new year I will send them notes and little things to fill them up with.I love that idea even more-Boy the things You have the opportunity to tell them that year.

  50. Kathi Sanoba says:

    Years ago, I found a really fat scrapbook in an old barn antique store in eastern Ohio and paid $10 for it. The antique shop thought that the person (a single lady) ended up in entertainment or something, since there was another scrap book from her that had been previously purchased that had a lot of theater items in it. Over the years I have loved looking at the newspaper clippings, party invitations from grade and high school, travel ephemera etc., that the woman who belonged to it put in there – from the early 1900’s till about 1920. But I always wondered about the owner and what happened to her (she lived in New Castle, PA). Many years later comes the internet and I was able to find out exactly what happened to her, and to most of her family (she never married). However the one thing I haven’t been able to do is find a descendant who might want this before it crumbles away!

  51. Mamey Brown says:

    I love all of these stories!!! I can not tell you how much all of these posts, but also, all of the comments left by all of the “girlfriends” has meant to me. I haven’t felt this giddy with excitement to do put these ideas into action in years. Not all; but most of the people in my life on a regular basis, (coworkers, sisters, and even some friends) are just not like this so I thought I was the only one that felt this way about all of this stuff. THANK YOU ALL so much for making me feel a part of something very special……

    I too have boxes of all the cards my husband has given me since we met in 1995. I have also saved all the little cards from when he sent me flowers for whatever reason. I dated them so I could keep track. I also keep all the handwritten cards our nieces and nephews have made for us. They are a treasure. Lastly, I have a display board that is hanging in my laundry room that I hang all the Thank You cards I receive for whatever reason. My husband was just saying I need to get a bigger one or do something with them because there are so many of them, they are starting to fall off. Please don’t think I’m telling you this to get a pat on the back for good deeds. I wanted to share; that for me, that board, is just a reminder to keep doing nice things for people. I think I might put the old ones in a box that was mentioned here and maybe just keep the most recent ones out until the board gets full again. I’m just thinking out loud, but because of Susan Branch and this website, my wheels are just a spinnin’!!! Thanks AGAIN! for the inspiration. I’ve commented a bunch of different places here and I’m afraid Susan is going to get sick of me thanking her!! 🙂 I agree with a previous comment: I think all of us should have a “Susan Branch” box for our scrapboxing projects!! It would be sooooooooooooooo beautiful!! Any possibilities Susan?? haha. Like you need one more request right?? hehe

  52. Barbora says:

    In one of your comments, you mentioned unusual food for breakfast. I worked graveyard shift for a couple of years. When I got off work about 8:00 a.m., I would go to a local restaurant and have braunschweiger sandwiches with mustard. Turns out one of the other third shift guys loved to go to breakfast with me and have the same thing. He thought it was daring. Fun and a good memory.

  53. Helen says:

    I am currently in the hospital undergoing a stem cell transplant for multiple myeloma. To pass the time I have been catching up on my emails, and especially your blog when I came upon the article about your legacy boxes. I am so inspired and excited to do this for my grandchildren! I have been blessed with 6 grandchildren and many, many pieces of family history, from valentine cards, Christmas cards, etc., to hankies, pins, just about anything that my dad’s family could pack away. For years I have thought about what to do with all this, how to share it with my family and if they even want some these things. I can’t tell you what an inspiration you have given me, thank you, thank you, this will make my hospital stay and recovery go so much faster as I dream about what I can do with all my treasures.

  54. Betsy says:

    Dear Susan,
    I have just stumbled upon your blog after finding your books on I first heard of you years ago when I purchased one of your scrapbooking sets. I made a scrapbook of my pregnancy/early days with my first child, 10 years ago. I enjoyed every moment of making that book because I love your artwork and the quotes you use.

    Fast forward to now – I am the homeschooling momma of 4 kids (ages 10, 8, 4, and 2). In the past two years, I have been overwhelmed with stress and grief. In 2016 we lost our 15 year old nephew to leukemia and my mother was diagnosed with a rare an aggressive cancer that is now terminal. 2017 has also been a year of ups and downs (cancer devastates, but we have tried to make wonderful memories as much as possible.)

    Right before the holiday season, I had a fall that resulted in me breaking my ankle in three places. That’s the last thing I needed! And it seems for the past month, all of my kids have been sick and I have been battling bronchitis. Some days all of this seems too much. I have struggled with not being able to do any homemaking, decorating, or even much caring for my children. Thankfully friends and my husband have stepped in to help.

    So, to find your work on Amazon was a joy for me. I ordered one of your books (A Fine Romance) which should arrive in a couple days, and now I am reading through your blog. I am hopeful that this crazy season will come to an end, but I am trying to find joy in the midst of it. Your blog and your work has helped me with that. I have read and cried through several posts. I also feel I am at a turning point in life – seeking to find my passion and really delve into it rather than being a “jack of all trades” and multitasker.

    Thank you so much for opening your heart and sharing your stories. Blessings to you,

    • sbranch says:

      Poor Baby, hugs around your sweet self, too much for one person all at once. Nothing lasts forever, sometimes that’s a bad thing, but in this case, it’s good, and all my prayers and best wishes are flowing your way. Another of my books, Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams is ALL about finding your passion . . . read that after you take your visit through the English Countryside 💞 and hopefully it will help. Because bad things really do happen to good people, but we come out much much better than before. Mom is the toughest job in the world. You are not alone. Breathe, read, and get through the holidays, then start again. 😘

  55. Dear Susan,

    I quite often feel you must be Beatrix potter’s re-incarnation and a kindred spirit of Tasha Tudor! Could you please brief out an article if Tasha has inspired you ever? She also belongs to the New England. I feel her life and your life has been a lot similar with charming things all around with the coincidence of the watercolor world you have created. I love the world through your eyes. I feel grateful to be alive when ever I come across your work and words! Thank you so much..wishing you great health and longlife. May you keep inspiring us and write more and more! Draw and Doodle more and more!! Love you!

    • sbranch says:

      For some reason I did not learn of Tasha until after my first book came out. She was published by the same folks who published my books, so that’s how I discovered her. I do love her story. Thank you Rameswari . . . very sweet of you, I’m drawing and doodling every day! xoxo

  56. Marigold says:

    My heart is as full as your treasure boxes just reading this. Beautiful and inspiring. Not only do you manage to bless *this* generation, but you have discovered a way to bless future ones as well. What a treasure *you* are, dear Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Marigold, it’s a lovely sort of project, thinking about how thrilled I would be if I found it, makes me love making it!

  57. Sherry A Winchester says:

    Hello, Susan! As a collector and antiques dealer of many years, I’m always on the lookout for these. I, too, weave stories around the contents, far beyond what the actual contents tell me. Putting your own treasure boxes together for someone lucky to find in the future is a lovely thought. By jove, I think you may have started something wonderful! As always, thank you!

  58. Barbara says:

    Honestly, on of the sweetest things I have ever read. Adore you, Susan ♥️

  59. Sherry Winchester says:

    Always a source of inspiration! Yes, you are! Thanks ever so much!

  60. Peggy M says:

    I’m starting boxes for my grandsons who are three and five. Things to remember our times together. I’m very excited about it! I got the idea from you. You wrote about these boxes previously. So see how your ideas ripple out into the world and make people happy?

  61. Kathy Landes says:

    I have kept ticket subs, thank you notes from grandchildren, funeral obituaries, prizes won, poems, newspaper clippings, dried 4 leaf clovers or flowers from our travels. I’ve found, and on and on for many years. I have kept a diary since I was in the 4th grade & that is where these things go. I also keep a travel journey when we are on our trips. I am 78 yrs. old & don’t have any intention of stopping, Enjoy your blog so much as we seem to have a lot in common or ideas that are the same. Warmest wishes to you in this time of uncertainty.

  62. Susan Riley says:

    When I read your blogs it’s is always as if you see into my heart and soul! Thank you for being a kindred spirit. I have boxes and boxes and boxes of my stuff! My children shout at me to get rid of it but I just can’t ❤️

  63. Terri W. says:

    I have a treasure box (that’s what I’ve always called it) that I found on the floor of a closet at an estate sale. It held beautiful antique lace, a sewing booklet from the early 1900s, a hand painted hankie with a note pinned on that said “She made this for me,” and much more. I’d never thought to make my own treasure box, but thanks to you I’m going to start today to gather up my little treasures from drawers and cabinets so they’ll all be together for someone to discover someday! 💗

  64. Gigi Sullivan says:

    JUly 13th 2023,
    Dear Susan, I wone many of your books and for the first time came across this blog. I adore your books and used all of them for family and friend celebrations when I lived in NE for 42 years. to day it is going to be 118 here in AZ . Reading about the Treasure boxes has me getting ready to reinvent the journals I had been keeping. Having 4 children and 3 more thorough marriage, technology has invaded memories, no one wants anything old, borrowed or blue. The birth of 5 amazing grand children I am hoping to broach the subject memory making. We are having a family Birthday gathering for my 35 with 40 years of experience next week. Thank you for being you. I miss New England and feel homesick even though AZ is lovely and is so much more than flat and brown. xxo Gigi

    • sbranch says:

      I just met the mom of a 30 year old who opened a needlepoint store in Chicago!!! Gave me so much hope! Things come around!💖 My dad lived in Cottonwood… I’ve been to Arizona lots of times. xoxoxo

  65. Karen altier says:

    Hi Susan
    I do enjoy all of your stories and yes the yesteryear things I have quite a few of them. Your fabric I loved What a wonderful life you must have. I do alot of crafting and am never bored. I love your house and the surroundings. I have a husband that is talented in many ways. He works with beautiful wood Keep your stories coming. I enjoy them so much. You are a great story teller and make it do interesting as if we are right there with you. 👍❤️❤️❤️

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