Jan's Blog Flower



Now reading . . .

"Journey into the Whirlwind"
by Eugenia Semyonovna Ginzburg

"The Wind in the Willows"
by Kenneth Grahame

"Growing Up"
by Russell Baker

by John Grisham

Monday, December 4, 2006


We love boxes, my sisters and I. I am not sure why, although I am sure that an analyst could have years of fun with that. I like big boxes and little boxes and trunks and containers of all kinds. I have a project now to recover a box that my father made for me. He made a box for each of us when we moved away from home for one reason or another. He would take wood of any kind and make a box. I think each box had different dimensions and was made from whatever wood he had on hand. Anita’s box was destroyed during her trip to or return from Korea. Daddy made another one for her but I think it had cardboard sides.

My box is 28 inches wide, 15 inches tall and 16 inches deep. It is sturdy and true. Of course it is true. My father had nothing but contempt for farmers whose fields and rows were not straight. When we would drive to town, my father would comment on the poor engineering of roads and would tell us which hills should have been cut through for the road. He made my box for me just before I went to California to be married. It has been through a number of transformations. I first covered it in coral colored vinyl and made a padded top for it. I lined it in cedar paper and used it for various things including a bench, a shoe container, a tool container and lastly for a container for Mmmm’s sweaters where the bag of cedar chips keep them moth-free. It does double duty in the study. I have a tray on it so I can put a coffee cup and a plate of cookies on it. One can also use it as a foot stool. Of course, every time I use it I think of my father’s wide, capable hands making it. I am going to cover it in light beige vinyl to avoid the reason I have to recover – a spilled something. The spills will wipe off and the vinyl is so different from what it was 44 years ago.

I have another box that is precious to me. It is called a trinket trunk and belonged to my Great Grandmother Katherine Goertz. I think that Mom gave it to me because I had a daughter named Katherine. It looks like a little trunk about 7 ˝ inches tall, almost 10 inches wide and 7 inches deep. It has little rollers on the bottom and leather straps on either end. The top at one time had a lock or fastener and it has wooden strips across the top and brass studs in the decorative paper covering it. When Mother was going to give it to me, she got a cloth and some cleaning solution and was going to give it a good wash when I stopped her midway. It would be more valuable and prettier without Mother’s ministrations but even that is precious. That is the kind of woman Mother was.

The inside of the box is lined in a decorative red paper with sentimental stickers inside the lid and on top of the insert. There is an insert that lifts out with two compartments in it. The trunk holds:

.A tiny teddy bear
.A tiny book entitled “Let’s be Friends”
.A box containing skeletons of tiny seahorses
.A box containing a skeleton of a pipe fish
.A poem entitled “Mother” written in grade school
.An angel rattle
.A tiny wooden rhinocerous
.A tiny soapstone tortoise
.2 tiny Bible Story books
.A Japanese doll eraser
.A tape measure – souvenir of New York City
.A very tiny pliers
.2 six cents stamps commemorating the Apollo 8 flight showing earth from space with the words “In the beginning God . . .(whatever happened to the freedom to say things like that?)
.Poems written when I was in high school
.Cards, letters and clippings
.A little box (Gorton’s Chocolates) with my name on it from my mother’s trunk. Apparently Mother’s friends gave her a shower before I was born. No doubt the baby clothes were worn out after being used by four older siblings. Inside the box, Mother kept a careful record of who gave what, including the original gift cards. She must have been very touched.
.Lydia Gering – Booties and stockings
.Grace Glissman – Silk Moccasins
.Mrs. J. P. Graber and girls – Kimono, bath set,
.Mrs. Gust Senner – Lap protector
.Mrs. Lillian Nelson – Dress
.Clara, Jennie and Lena – All wool blanket – Mom notes that they “got up the shower".
.Ann Graber (Mom’s sister) - Crepe de Chine coat and bonnet
.Mrs. Emil Senner – Plain little dress
.Mrs. Joe Ziegler – Shirt
.Mrs. Peter Graber – Booties
.Mrs. Clarence Ziegler – Booties and stockings
.Mrs. Rebecca Tilton – Box powder and 2 pair stockings
.Mrs. Ammon Chupp – Bunny Blanket
.A straight edge razor
.My bronzed baby shoe
.Famps’s autograph book dated 1909-1912
.Stone eggs
.Doll Clothes
.Silk handkerchiefs from France dated 1913 – probably from Uncle Jack
.A 16 inch long braid of my hair.
And, as they used to say in sale bills from farm auctions: “Other items too numerous to mention.”

I often wonder what will happen to my “stuff” when I die. I certainly don’t expect Kay to want much of it. I can imagine a dumpster out in front filled with the detrious of a life. Will my box from Daddy be one of the things in the dumpster?

de-tri-ous - Accumulated material; debris. Isn’t that what it all is in the end?

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