Back to Our Journal

Hand Me Down

Stories about our loved objects, handed down from previous generations.

Words by: The Ozone Family

FRAN

Moses Basket

My family home is full of objects which have been loved and passed on. My husband and I love old things – it’s the shared experiences and stories of where objects have inhabited that make us feel human and connected.

The object that means the most to me is the Moses basket that my Mum put me in when I was a baby back in 1988. I come from quite a large family, so it’s been home to several sleeping babies and many of my nieces and nephews used it. My sister-in-law made a new cover at some point and my brother made a new base. It’s last use was for my daughter Wren. It was surreal to watch her sleeping in something I once slept in too and I couldn’t help conjuring up a mirror image of my mother watching me in it. If it’s still going, I would love the Moses basket to be used again, maybe by Wren someday if she wishes.

PAUL

Mahlkönig Coffee Grinder

Having worked in coffee for over 18 years, you can imagine I have a bit of coffee related paraphernalia around. The pride and joy of my coffee collection is my father in law, Johnny’s, original Mahlkonig W1BN coffee grinder. He gave it to me some years into my coffee career – maybe he was waiting to see if I stuck this coffee thing out.

Johnny, a son of Greek immigrants to NZ, owned his first café and milk bar in New Plymouth at the age of 21, serving up bottomless filter coffee at two famous New Plymouth joints – Chris’s Café and The Flamingo. Along with his brother, Mike, they were responsible for bringing a lot of ‘’foreign’’ food to New Plymouth, along with fresh roasted coffee beans from a Wellington roaster. The Mahlkonig was used to grind people’s coffee for home when they came in to pick up other tastes of their homeland like Dutch liquorice or smoked Kippers.

Now armed with a new set of blades, it’s back in use – it definitely adds something special to the weekend brews at home.

BIANCA

Magnifying Glass

I grew up on an avocado farm, run by my late father, Elliot. Back in 1976, he invested in 17 hectares of virgin land in its natural state and built a family home. He also set up two sheds, a water tank, a tractor, a trailer and packing machinery for the fruit. As you can imagine, the tool sheds (yes plural) that housed his farming tools were a constant source of discovery and intrigue to me as I grew up watching him boss the land.

Amongst all the farming paraphernalia was this little Gowlands magnifying glass. He gave it to me when I became obsessed with analogue printing processes, shortly after I started my Photography degree. It is old, dusty and dirty and I can hardly see through it, but on occasion, I get it out to look at negatives – it aids a traditional process with authentic tools.

Using it is a nod to my father who was a relentlessly devoted farmer; dawn until dusk while avoiding brown snakes and battling fruit pests, this magnifying glass reminds me of his pursuits of the land. Sadly, none of his four children became Orchardists, but what remains of the farm, in our hands today, forms a tangible segway to Dad’s story that can be handed down and retold for generations.

ROBYN

Ring

When I was small, one of my favorite things to do was sit at my Granny’s dressing table trying on her rings & clipping on her earrings – all whilst wearing her array of pink lipsticks. Years later, I now proudly rock two of my Granny’s rings, having inherited them around my 18th birthday. I wear them every day with pride. My Grandpa was very good at buying my Granny diamonds and pearls – she was a lucky lady! My favorite ring comes from his travels to Sri Lanka back in the 80’s.

I was also lucky enough to be gifted a locket from her jewellery box a few years ago, which I wear most days. The best bit is that she inherited it from her grandmother, so it’s really old. In the back of the locket is a faded photograph of someone’s ‘Sweetheart’, but we’ve no idea who’s it was or even who he was. It could be over 100 years old!

NATHAN

Bayonette

My ‘hand me down’ came from my grandfather, a jovial Yorkshireman who was fond of gardening, ginger cake and telling tales of his younger years. Some of these years were spent overseas in Burma during his time as an engineer for the Royal Signals in the Second World War. From that time, he kept a handful of things; a couple of journals, his service medals and a gnarly bayonet.

I’m currently transcribing the tiny handwriting that he scrawled onto the yellowing pages of his journals into a typed document and have photographed the medals and bayonet with the intention of compiling them all into a book. Other than that I’m not really ‘using’ these items, the bayonet currently lives in my kitchen draw alongside a not so meaningful bread knife.

I myself don’t own anything quite as illustrious as war medals but have some furniture that I’ve made (badly) that I would be stoked to pass on someday, should someone decide it meant enough to them to keep hold of.