So a while back, I had the idea to create a small, portable shrine to my WWI life as a means of closure. It would be creating the sort of box or tin of items that might have been left behind had Jack’s belongings stayed together.
But a couple of things happened. First, I didn’t have the money which was a deal-breaker. Second, I was kind of enjoying the stretch of time when I wasn’t feeling particularly disturbed by those memories and I was trying to avoid dredging that up, hoping it was finally behind me.
The need for closure has reared its head again, so I’m back in the process of buying items bit by bit to assemble into this simulacrum of the sort of thing an Old Contemptible might have kept in his sock drawer after the war.
I already had my first item, a sixpence from 1913 (and a shilling from 1893, which will be among the items that aren’t WWI related but give the impression of a person who might have been pressed for a safe place to keep a special item). I’d had these coins for some years and I thought it interesting that I was drawn to these specific coins one day about 18 years ago.
Today, I bought a couple more items:
The stereo slides will go in a general collection of ephemera I’ve been amassing, but the lighter (probably a reproduction) will go in the shrine.
Some of the items I intend to add to the shrine:
*An Edwardian box or tin to keep everything in.
*A recreation of the letter Jack’s father likely received upon his death.
*A print of a photo showing soldiers from the KSLI (I just need to find a suitable paper stock to print the image on).
*A KSLI cap badge (original or reproduction)
*Reproduction ID discs (these have been sourced but are a bit expensive)
*Reproductions of Jack’s medals (sourced but expensive).
*Assorted paper items such as manuals or chits (if I can find them) or period papers not necessarily related to the war such as old ticket stubs.
There are three other items that might be interesting to add, but I’ll have to pick them up when I travel to France, Belgium, and the UK:
*A hop picker’s token from Hereford
*A small vial of soil from as near to the spot where Jack fell as I can recall
*A pressed poppy from Flanders.
The shrine will be kept, just as Jack might have done had he had the chance, tucked safely away in a dresser drawer.