They had those old trunks used for travel, or a bride's trousseau as she set off for a new life, or families large and small that set off from the old world for the new world. Big deep sturdy trunks with leather handles and brass clips.
I had one when I went off to boarding school for the first time at the ripe old age of nine. It wasn't considered too young, there were lots of children much younger than me sent off with trunks and good wishes back in those days. My parents were moving about mid-year and thought it best if I started school in the town we were going to rather than move half way through. We were moving from way out in the sticks to a mid-sized town a few hours away. The school year in South Africa runs January-December.
The school I went to was run by nuns in a convent and let's just say it was not a meeting of minds. I think they were as delighted as I was when my family finally moved, later in the year than planned, but at last I moved back home to be a day scholar.
A year or so later at the age of 12 I was sent to another boarding school for the remainder of my school years and they were very happy years.
I haven't given any of this time much thought for many years. But seeing those trunks on the lawn reminded me of that convent and how strange that whole experience was to a small child.
I know the old trunks hung around at home for a while but I'm not sure what happened to them. I spent a good part of the day wondering if I'd taken mine to my happy boarding school. I think I did for a year or so but they were mighty heavy and bulky to move around. The only difference from these was my old trunk had strong leather straps around it.
Anyway, the flood of memories made me pause and paint a couple of the trunks on the lawn here in the USA. There were way more than 3 but this was enough for my journal. Now I can take it out every often to be transported to another time. It's funny how something so simple can cause an avalanche of memories ... good and bad.