Mon | Aug 20, 2018

My father's treasures

Published:Sunday | June 21, 2015 | 12:00 AMRandy Bowman
Liam Lee's late father's guitar.
Contributed Photo The mahagony dresser that Isaacs Phillips received from his father that is now owned by his daughter, Jade.

When a man becomes a father, he not only passes on his DNA, but family history, and treasured memorabilia - tangible items that are passed down from one generation to the next. As Outlook celebrates our fathers today, we pay homage to a few who have passed on, but not before leaving a precious item for their loved ones to cherish.

Isaac Phillips received a brown mahogany dresser from his father almost 20 years ago when he was a teenager in high school. It was the most hated item he had ever received in his life. After years of sharing a room with his older brother Michael, Isaac was finally able to enjoy his own space and his father was cramping his style with this antique piece of furniture.

Unaware of the rich history associated with the dresser, Phillips one day mustered up the strength to ask his parents to put it back in storage, and he would save and buy a new one. "I remember that day vividly. My dad in a calm voice said, 'sit son'. He and my mother went on to tell me how his grandmother went to work in England many moons ago, and before her return to retire in Jamaica, she bought a complete bedroom suite all made from the finest mahogany money could buy. Before she died, she divided the suite among her children and asked them to always work for what they want, using the piece of furniture as a daily reminder. He told me, 'When your children are old enough, pass it on to them'."

Following the conversation with his parents, Phillips have a new found respect for what was now a treasured family heirloom. And, as he grew, so did his admiration for it, so much so that when he moved out of his parents home, he took it with him.

Today, the dresser has a new owner, Jade, Isaac's daughter. Though only three years old, he has already given her the history behind the piece.


The ring

Victoria Hamilton was just as turned off as Phillips when she received an old white-gold diamond ring from her father. It was the ring he had proposed to her mother with the first time. "I just didn't want it because I thought it would bring me bad luck since my mother refused it. But I saw the sadness and despair written all over his face, so I took it and asked, 'Why that ring?'. He told me that it was his late mother's. She had given it to him a few days before she passed, and asked that he place it on the finger of the woman that holds his heart. That's when I held it and him closer."

Though Victoria no longer owns the ring, she knows it's in the right place, on her mother's finger. It was given to her when she accepted the second proposal a few years later.

"My parents are still happily married and can hardly wait for one of her daughters to have a son to pass the ring on to," chuckled Victoria.


The Guitar

Liam Lee was just three years months old when his father died, but the legacy he left behind will be remembered for years to come. With both parents being professional musicians, it was no surprise that Lee followed in their footsteps. As a child, he was exposed to many instruments, but nothing could separate him from the bass guitar he stumbled on one day in his mother's closet. "As soon as my mother walked in, she was greeted by my efforts to manoeuvre the strings. For weeks, she taught and marvelled at the speed at which I was able to play this instrument. One particular day, I was playing a tune she would sing me as a lullaby when I was a child. Tears started flowing down her cheeks and she told me, 'That guitar belongs to your father, and he would play it every night for you as I rocked you to bed,'" an emotional Lee shared.

"Since then, I have played it everyday in his honour. And though he did not hand the guitar to me, I know he's happy I have it," he ended.