Memory box

I’m beginning this column as I stare at a piece of stolen property roudly hanging near the com- outer in my office.

It’s a photograph of my dad – his senior picture – stolen from his memory box a couple years ago.

Dad’s memory box was in the back of a closet, buried beneath years and years of garage sale tems.

Summer after summer, my mom and I would hold garage sales in our back porch, trying desperatey to get rid of all those no longer useful items.

Summer after summer, we’d pack 15 to 20 boxes of unsold items back into that closet.

A few years ago, we dug out every single box in that closet, deciding that we were going to have one final garage sale.

Anyway, in the back of this closet, below the mounds of useless crap, sat an old tattered box filled with memories.

We inadvertently brought it lown the stairs, thinking it was just another box to sell, kin to approximately 3,987 boxes we’d already piled into our living
r00m.

I remember cracking that box open myself and first pulling out an old broken piggy bank.

It wasn’t familiar. My brothers and I never owned anything like it. So I called my mom over, and she quickly informed me that it was my dad’s memory box.
So, mom and I (home alone at the time) sifted through the memories in the box.

There were coloring book pages, scribbled on by what was obviously a very young version of my dad.

A couple toys were packed in with what looked like the beginnings of my dad’s interest in electronics. And there was a small box of his senior pictures.

I snatched one for myself before mom and I packed up the contents into a newer, less-tattered box.

When dad returned home from work, we brought him the box and watched him go through the memory process himself.

He smiled and told us the sto ries behind the piggy bank and the toys. He laughed that his own mother had held on to some of the coloring book pages from his early years.

It left me with a new insight into how my dad became the man he is.

It was a treasure we found in the bottom of that closet that Saturday afternoon.

Maybe it wasn’t the sort of buried treasure box pirates search for, but it meant far more to me. It will still be a treasure when someone rediscovers the box in a decade or two.

I’ve got my own treasure box started now. Well, it’s more of a trunk, really. Every time I think of it, I tuck away a memory or two. Sometimes stuffing in these very columns, sometimes photographs, sometimes silly little things that mean something only to me.

I hope someday, the treasures it holds will bring my family the same sort of insight and joy when they stumble mistakenly upon my 90 pound trunk.

Maybe, just maybe, when my dad reads this, he’ll forgive my theft, smile, and stuff this column into that memory box of his.