Just as reminders of Momma keep surfacing in the form of letters from Boston and fleeting memories sparked by assignments and observations of her siblings, a reminder of the children's veiled past hovers above them constantly in the attic. Just as the story of Gram's children is hidden from the readers, so it is hidden quite literally from the children. The attic, James is certain, contains artifacts that would narrate the family events that led up to the birth of the Tillerman children. Gram, because she is not yet able to face these memories and their implications, guards this history from the children's eyes. Although the entirety of its contents remains hidden from the children, Gram regularly mines the attic for objects that are of use to them: shirts for Dicey, and the sweaters and boots she brings down for the other children. These mute objects tantalize the children, again giving them just a hint of the narrative they long to know. Momma and Gram have hidden the past from their children as a side effect of their own inability or reluctance to face the past, but the children long to understand what happened before them to better make sense out of themselves and their family.