Monday, January 9, 2012

The Box

The box sat on the table. My heart raced. I picked it up feeling the weight of it. Tonight. I would sit down after the days events were finished and take my time opening this treasure chest.

My cousin, Lee, died last fall. He was the last of the cousins to remember the aunts and uncles, Mom and Pop Johnson. I sent a note to his widow asking what she was planning to do with my Aunt Bessie's pictures and letters Lee might have had passed on to him. She was thrilled to hear from me as the family had taken all they wanted of the pictures, and she was at a loss as to what to do with the remainder. Now it sat on the kitchen table waiting for me.

I don't know what my friends thought listening to me as I opened the box. I laughed until I had tears in my eyes. And, I found other tears as well. I talked to my aunt as I looked at old pictures of her taken long before I was born. There were pictures of my Uncle Sam and his family. These mean little to me except for those that are so typical of the uncle I remember. It was a box full of my history, too.

I wish my aunt had written names on the back of each photo. Many of the faces I will never know, but some I can decipher. Old frames holding old pictures. A grandfather as a younger man dressed in a long coat with fur collar. My grandmother in a 20's dress looking the flapper.

My mother had stacks and stacks of old cards, letters and pictures. She knew the value they held, the memories of those she loved, the history that was hers and that of her children. I think perhaps I'm the one who is a bit like Mom. These pictures are our history book. The Johnson Photo Album. The Loxley Photo Album. The History of the House on Neff Road.

It is new year I start in reflecting on the years past when a picture was taken without the realization that someday a great granddaughter would be saving it for future generations. A daughter, a granddaughter, a cousin, a niece who would always remember.

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