Sunday, February 8, 2009

Discovery in a Box

My lovely sisters and I were taking a trip down memory lane just yesterday. It’s amazing who and what you find when you travel that road. I don’t know about you, but I have always loved boxes full of glimpses from the past. Even when I wasn’t really old enough to have much of a past of my own, I looked into other people’s pasts by looking at old photos, boxes of memorabilia, and reading old letters. It was a bit like looking in a treasure box. I never knew what I would discover. And the more jumbled the box, the better it seemed, as if I might find something there that someone else had missed. I didn’t just do this in the attic of the house I grew up in; I also braved the cobwebs and darkness of my grandmother’s attic too. Her treasures were even more interesting. But I digress.

Back to yesterday.

We were looking in boxes that had served as a reservoir for scraps and photos of each of us girls. Some of the stuff was downright entertaining. There were the silly rhymes that third grade friends write in autograph books. Take this one for instance:

In jail they give you coffee.
In jail they give you tea.
In jail they give you everything
Except the doggone key!

Or if you prefer something sweetly romantic:

Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Acorns are nuts,
And so are you.

Then there were those classic school photos. We were dressed in our best but my, oh my, how the fashions have changed. And the eyeglasses were really something to behold! Other photos made me wonder if they had a school committee that decided the best way to keep high school girls humble was to present them with the least flattering gym uniforms with your name embroidered on the upper left side of the front – a requirement.

Most of the photos captured us as we lived – in curlers, dressing up the dog (and no it wasn’t us kids, it was my dad who did that!), putting on plays, and performing miraculous feats of anti-gravity.

And just like in the old days, each box held treasures yet to be unearthed. “What’s in that brown envelope?” “What are these pictures of?” “Who is that? Is that you? You have got to be kidding me!” “What made you think THAT was a flattering hairstyle?”

Then I happened upon this photo of me. It was the year that my mother made Raggedy Ann for me as a Christmas gift. If you haven’t read the story, click here. Yes, that’s me on Christmas morning in a patchwork robe that she had made for me, socks on my feet to keep them warm, stockings hung by the chimney with care, and I have just opened my doll. I did not even know a photo existed of that moment. Treasures, memories, fun times – times that we laughed so hard our sides would hurt. I remember those days. That’s what I call a discovery in a box.

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