Hope Chests have been around for a long time. Young unmarried girls would collect things to place in their hope chest, things that they hoped to use after they were married. Often a boyfriend or fiance would purchase a cedar chest or blanket chest for his sweetheart as a gift. It was as good as an engagement ring. It was a sign of commitment.
Linens, dishes, clothing, and small family heirlooms were just a few of the items that the hopeful young woman would place in her hope chest.
When I got married in the early 70’s, the hope chest had lost a bit of its charm. The women’s liberation movement was all about changes in attitudes toward women and of women’s attitudes about their futures. No longer was a woman expected to marry and have a family. There were careers out in the world waiting for women to latch on to. I often feel as if I was on the edge of all this happening. I wanted a family and I wanted a career. But I think I would have sacrificed the career if I had to make a choice. I’m sure there are many young women out there who would laugh at this choice now. But we are children of the times in which we live.
I was lucky to have a family and a career. And I did it without a hope chest.
How about you?