Grandma Ruby Neal’s Wicker Baskets

Grandma Neal at my bridal shower, 1966

Grandma Ruby Neal’s shower gifts to her granddaughters, and to brides of her grandsons, were wicker baskets. Inside she’d added a small pad of paper and a pencil (for grocery lists) and a treated cloth (for dusting).

Leaving for school, 1969 or 1970

The right-sized basket with a handle is such a handy thing to have around. Mine, dating from 1966, has been to probably every potluck we’ve ever attended. It’s carried quilt squares and counted cross-stitch, crocheting and knitting projects.

When Guy was in Vietnam and I taught second grade, it went back and forth to school with me.

These days it carries poster holders, pens for autographing, and business cards when I give programs about the Wilson family stories during the Great Depression and WWII, or about the Dallas County Freedom Rock.

It’s still surprisingly sturdy, although the handle wrapping came undone so is now sheathed with fake leather.

The only thing better than an heirloom is an heirloom with a story!


  1. I have a number of wicker baskets. My favorite is the shallow basket my grandmother used for picking flowers and my mother used for vegetable gardening. It holds the dog’s chew bones now (gross). The one I have like yours holds hats and gloves by the front door.

    • Since the next generation doesn’t value what we still do, I’m making sure Dan and his wife knows the stories behind, say, a small advertising crock from an ancestor’s early meat market in Dexter. (They said they’d like to have this one!)

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