Wedding Gift

Divorce creates an interesting, and sometimes difficult, avenue of speculation when considering questions related to family and heritage. When a family undergoes the changes of a couple’s separation, it can have an affect on the idea or experience of what it means to belong to a certain culture or upbringing. Both of my parents are children of divorce, and when I was seven, they separated and divorced. During this process, which is different for almost everyone, I often found a feeling of comfort by alternating between the escapism of books and the reality of the objects that came to or from our living spaces as my parents moved away from each other and eventually married other people. Divorce and remarriage, I’ve found, often allows an object to take on a new meaning that can be interpreted as a reflection of the social change around it. My object is a leather-bound collection of Shakespeare plays, dating back to 1920s British Columbia. It was gifted to me by my grandfather’s second wife, Sharon, who told me that, since she had no children of her own, she wanted these books to stay in the family. Given that she and I are related through marriage, rather than blood, I have often thought about how my family’s history feels enriched by these expansions and contractions of our social units. On the inside of the first volume, I discovered an inscription reading, “To my beloved husband, Clarence L. Lee, on his 40th birthday, October 15th, 1929, From Mrs. Pearl Lee, Vancouver, BC.”

Year: 1900

– Nora Cooper

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more