A Treasure Box of Memories

My treasure box, the size of a loaf of bread, used to belong to my mother who called it her jewelry box. For as far back as I can remember, it sat on her dresser. Now it sits on mine. I suspect you have a treasure box, too. It might be your dad’s tackle box, your grandpa’s tool chest, an odds and ends container, or a jewelry box.

My wooden treasure box with its inlaid scenic landscape picture on the top is so full it no longer closes. I dump everything out on the dining room table. It’s time to sort through and elimi-nate everything but the true treasures.

First I start with items reminding me of my childhood, two green turtle-shaped pins and a silver necklace with a turtle pendant. Over the years loved ones have given me turtle jewelry because they know in my youth I was a champion turtle trapper. Contact me (see below) and I’ll tell you my special trick.

Second, I slip on a ring given to me by my all-time favorite teacher. When she taught me for both third and fourth grade, she was young, styled her hair in a pretty French twist, and wore this gold band on the pinky of her left hand. She became a close family friend and this ring earns a place in my treasure box.

Third, I pick up the long string of shells given to me by my father when I was in my teens. He wasn’t a sentimental man so there had been no ceremony in the gift-giving. He’d handed the necklace to me with a minimum of words. “I got these when I was in the navy stationed at the Philippines,” was all he said.

My dad died young, age 55, and I never got to ask him about those years. I gently return the shells to the box.

Next I pick up a memory from my high school years, a black velvet choker. Chokers, meant to wear tight to the neck, were the rage back in the 70’s. I wore this with a short dress to

a homecoming dance. It conjures up images of youth, endless possibilities, and idealism. It’s going back in. So is this leather bracelet from my hippy era when I sprayed my long hair with “Sun-in” to make it blonder. Oh, those were the days.

I return a small photo of my husband, age 16, to my treasure box. He’s wearing huge glasses that mask his face, but the smile is his, so I keep it. I was in my early 20’s when that same smile won me over.

Next I pick up the artsy pin I bought at the Wo-Zha-Wa art fair while I was in the midst of my teaching career. I used to wear it on a “teacher” blazer back when my days were filled with enthusiastic fourth graders. Several students had commented on liking the glitzy pin. It’s going back in, too.

The opal necklace given to me by the Japanese exchange student who stayed with us when my youngest daughter participated in the Dells’ Iwaizumi project also earns its place in the box. It’s a good reminder to get out of my own world more, to reach out, and to give travel a high priority.

Next I pick up the polished claw of a crustacean, maybe a crayfish. My poetic daughter gave it to me along with dried rose buds, exotic shells from faraway oceans, and several unu-sual rocks. I never quizzed her on the reasoning since I understood part of the gift was the mys-tery and the imagination I could bring to the items. They will always earn a place in the box.

An artist who lives in my childhood neighborhood gave me the next item, a necklace with a stunning square-shaped pendant. I love the electric blue and green colors. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Accompanying the necklace is a note from the artist. “I put my heart and soul into each piece. It is my hope that you will enjoy my efforts in creating beauty.” This piece is a great reminder to be true to my creative side and deserves a spot in my treasure box.

Finally, I place my Anne of Green Gables pin, given to me by a writer friend, back inside, too. L.M. Montgomery will always be a role model for writing stories that appeal to a wide audi-ence and live on.

I lower the lid. I haven’t thrown anything away and the box still doesn’t close. Maybe it’s time to start a new treasure box. After all, it’s marvelous to see how something so small can hold a lifetime.

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