Belgian boxes, russian books

Boxing day. Sunday. We managed to get my boxes from the attic that had been there for 10 years. They came with me from Belgium.

THINGS I NEEDED IN MY NEW LIFE… but never got to use

should have been an appropriate label. I opened box after box, amazed at what silly things I wanted to bring into my new life.
All the books and trinkets that were important in my Belgian life are now neatly sorted by bin, book bank, with only 3 or 4 titles to keep.


A couple of Mr Wonderful’s old boxes came down as well, containing books and quilts Grandma Minnie made. We are looking for a new home for some of the quilts. Write me if you can be interested!


Of my 10 boxes – for witch we payed an astronomical amount to move it to England – 9 got emptied. Contents never to be seen again.
Since I have not read a flemish book in the last ten years, I wondered how many I was going to read in the future…
I did keep Alja Rachmanowa though, flemish, a book that I found in my grandmothers library when I was 12… fitting in my interest for anything that has to do with Russia… Her “Love, Tjecha and death” and “Love in the red storm” and a couple of other titles can not be tossed.


Alja was born in 1898 and lived through the Russian Revolution, writing diaries. How an intelligent woman had to flee Russia, ending up in Vienna, losing her only son Jurka when he was called up by the Nazis.
I can’t say that it is joyful reading, but I loved her books.
And it’s a string attached to my paternal grandmother Gabrielle, who had her library in the Sunday Room. Only to enter on explicit demand, the room I mean… I can still feel the key of the library cupboard in my hand, and the soft click when I turned the lock. To then browse the books… It was almost like a ritual.
After 40 years, I can still picture myself standing in the Sunday Room, almost afraid to breath…


Inside the book I find another surprise…


My parents and me on my first communion. And of course, I was the only one to loose my hat when we had to turn our chairs. ’t Was still in the days that the chairs had to be turned during service to sit or pray…


How I loved to read those stories about that far Russia… Freedom, liberty and brotherhood, Kerenski, Petersburg: I could forget my life and go on adventures on the tundra’s.

My grandmother and me were a good pair. She knew that I had to feed my soul and let me. And I had permission to go into the Sunday room, only used for special, special occassions…

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3 thoughts on “Belgian boxes, russian books

  1. Wat een spannend moment om die 10 dozen te openen.
    Het verwondert mij wel enigszins dat je er 9 niet meer belangrijk vindt terwijl anderzijds dit een bewijs is dat je het verleden hebt losgelaten en een stuk gelukkiger bent in het heden.
    Je ziet wat er diep in je hart is blijven hangen… Verbazend dat je die oude boeken over Rusland, uit de zondagse kamer van je oma hebt onthouden.
    Net zoals ik het mij nog levendig herinner dat mijn groottante concierge was in het Begijnhof van Kortrijk en wij daar in haar “beste” kamer mee mochten gaan om een snoepje uit de snoepjestrommel…
    Mooie herinneringen, bedankt om deze met ons te delen, vergezeld van de eeuwig boeiende en prachtige foto’s.

  2. Quilts are wonderful. Kirsten is fixing the quilt my mom made for Rick and I on our first married Christmas. Let me know what quilts if any you do want to pass on as I would like one or two let me know how much.

  3. Funny how some things become even more precious and others don’t seem to be needed any more as we move through life! I have been just such sorting and it has really brought the ebb and flow of life and the things in it home to me.

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