Steve Meador is the author of Throwing Percy from the Cherry Tree, a poetry book that was an entrant for a National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. He is widely published in online and print journals. He has been a real estate broker since the early 1980s and currently lives and practices in the Tampa, FL, area.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cedar Box

I have found a time capsule, of sorts, a small cedar box that I have not opened for maybe 25 years. The box was a giveaway item, offered by Lane Furniture through its dealers. I believe this box is from the mid to late 1960s. My grandmother gave it to me to put things in, when I lived with her. 

It is full of keepsakes and mementos. To my surprise I cannot remember why some of the items were saved or where they came from. I have selected a few to tell you about.

Several items were from my school days, like my high school ring. I did not order the one that was selected by my school and classmates. There was no particular reason, other than my need to buck the system. There were 310 kids in my class, I had the most beautiful class ring of all. Also, from my college days, there is my varsity letter from cross country, cut off of my jacket, and my TKE fraternity pin. I enjoyed all of my days at every level of school and am glad these items were saved.

There is a Benrus watch in the box. This watch is from 1969 and I wore it through high school and college. I stole this watch from Bargain City, a large discount superstore before WalMart or Kmart made such stores a major force. My cousin and I hitchhiked to the store and we each leaned over the jewelry counter, slid a door on one of the displays open and grabbed ourselves a watch. I am not proud of that, but we had very little of anything and everything we saw was appealing to us. The store has been long gone, or I would take the watch back and apologize.

There are two fountain pens and a letter opener in the box. I do not know why. Perhaps I realized the items were old and would one day be of great value. I shall keep them in the box and continue with that way of thinking.

There is a small collection of arrowheads. I have found many over the years, which are kept in my office on shelves. I do not know why these few are in the box, but I will remove them and place them among the others.

There is a small bag of volcanic dust which was given to me by a guy who was in the area at the time of the Mount St. Helen’s eruption. It is fine, like baby powder. He called me, when he got back to Orange County, where we lived at the time, and told me he had collected it for me, because he knew I would like to see it. I will keep this.

From December, 1972, there is an acrylic key chain with a scorpion inside. I went to Phoenix during winter break of my freshman year at Defiance College, to visit my mother, brothers and sisters. My brother bought this for me. It was never used. I have always considered it too valuable for that. It shall remain in the box, wrapped in a tissue.

There is a section of barricade tape from the 1984 L.A. Olympics. I cut this after watching the bike races in Mission Viejo, where we lived at the time. It has no value, no meaning, no anything to anyone other than me. For that reason, I will keep it.

I will tell you about only a few more items, because you will get bored reading about too many things that are meaningless to you. The first is my ID bracelet from high school. They were big at one time. Every boy had one. They were important, because it was the only thing you could give a girl if you wanted to go steady with her, if you were not an upper classman and had no class ring. Four or five girls wore this. The last to do so is still my wife to this day. This will be saved.  There is a pair of Wedgewood cufflinks. I do not remember anything about them, other than, like the pens and letter opener, I figured they would be of value someday. I will keep these also, with that same belief. The last item is a gold and onyx insignia ring. I was given this in 1970. It was purchased for my uncle, who died of a heart attack. He never wore it, and probably never would have, because it would have been to sissy-like for him. I replaced the R with an S and wore it for many years. It has served me well and its value to me is many times more than the value of the gold it contains. I shall keep this, too.

In fact, after carefully going through the contents I will keep everything and place the box back where it has been. Perhaps I will add some small items first, so that I can talk about them if I get the box out again in 10 or 15 years.

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