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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Encore Post: 'Boxes' (originally published December 10, 2010)

The original post was written in the first months of my blogging life and had no photos included. 

Today I went to a shop/warehouse in the next suburb as I'd seen their ad in the local paper which claimed they had all the packaging ideas needed to handle Christmas. As I'm planning to give some homecooked gifts this year, I was thrilled to find some very cute cardboard boxes and some cellophane bags. I bought 2 boxes which were very 'Christmassy' and a pack of 10 plain white boxes with little clear windows. I'm going to decorate the plain ones with some Christmas stickers I later bought at one of 'the cheap shops' (Bargain City) I also bought some Christmas ribbons with which to tie up the boxes when they are filled with brandy truffles, choc nut slice, fruit slice, old English matrimonials etc. 

In 2010 I ended up packing a lot of boxes with home baking ready for gift giving

Well anyway, on the way home from buying these boxes and other things I started thinking about the 'boxes' of my childhood...wooden fruit boxes! My dad worked as a fruiterer and my godparents had a stone fruit orchard and a vineyard...we were surrounded by boxes! 

There seemed to be at least 2 sizes that I can remember and the smaller one was probably about 2 foot 6in by about 10 inches and probably about 12 inches high. ( Although on reflection I'm sure there was a much smaller size for cherries) We had lots of this size at home and I used them to make dolls' houses, cubby houses , play tables and seats, storage bins etc.
In the photo below, you can see the fruit boxes that I've been playing with in the background. I was probably organising the boxes into dolls houses/mansions! I was 5 when this photo was taken. 

 The larger cases were wider and higher and my parents made a makeshift storage cupboard in the old laundry under the house, by nailing some of these larger boxes together on their side.  The next photo is an image found via a Google search...the pictured shelving is made of wooden cases and arranged in a very creative layout compared to my dad's, lol!

A quick search on the internet before revealed that those old fruit boxes are now worth quite a bit of money, being sought after by collectors of all things old. Fruit has been packed in cardboard boxes for years now and I'm wondering whether some time in the future these boxes will become collectables too! It would mean some new packaging would have to come in.

Each year my family would go to the seaside for 2 weeks holiday. The cat would come too in his 'pet carrier'. You guessed it! he travelled in one of the larger fruit boxes. There were flat strips of timber which were the top of these boxes. To remove the fruit these slats would be levered up. When the cat was put in the empty box, the slats would be nailed into place for the short journey, and then the top would be levered off again.

My poor cat Lucky had to travel to our holiday destination in a in a fruit box...(wish I could still sit cross legged like that! lol) 

My dad was a keen fisherman as well and often went fishing with friends who had boats. He carried his fishing gear in an old wooden box which had originally had bottles of brandy packed in it. (I don't think my dad got the box until it was empty!lol) His friends had fancy cane fishing tackle baskets but dad loved the box as it did the job. When my parents bought my childhood home it had some furniture left in it. One item was like a stool which had a padded seat with fabric gathered around the seat which went to the floor. Years later, we took the fabric off and what should be underneath...? a wooden brandy box!!
The next image was also found on the Internet and although not a brandy box (it used to hold root beer) it's very similar to my dad's 'fishing gear' box.

When my husband and I sometimes talk about our childhoods when people were frugal and quite ingenious at re-using and recycling my husband usually reminds me that most people did not have much money; it just wasn't our parents who struggled...and I think he is right.
If you remember wooden boxes/cases you might like to look through these photos here


Anonymous said...

lovely post Maria,thankyou.xx

angela said...

Isn't it amazing how something that was used so much because it was cheap and easy to come by can now be so expensive.
Love the photos of you as a small girl. Thank you for sharing.