I’ve got two of these. The first, the larger of the two, is the keeper of many childhood memories I hold dear. I can easily spend an hour or more poring over it’s contents, and it’s very likely that tears will flow before I reluctantly replace everything and close the lid.
Tucked inside are treasures like Mom’s wedding dress, Dad’s army uniform, love letters from Dad to Mom, pictures, baby clothes that I wore and that my children wore, and funeral books and cards from Mom and Dad’s funerals.
The second one is smaller and came to me more recently; it belonged to my birth-mother. It too contains a wedding dress, letters, pictures and baby paraphernalia. Truthfully, I have never thoroughally looked through everything that this trunk contains. I’ve looked at faces in pictures, most of whom I don’t recognize; I’ve looked slips of paper with my birth-mother’s handwriting; I’ve read letters that have revealed surprises; I’ve touched her wedding dress, but never held it up to get a better look or tried it on the way I tried Mom’s on.
The second trunk is a Pandora’s box of sorts. When I first received it I was reluctant to open it, yet it called to me like a siren calls to a sailing ship, and so I forced myself to take a deep breath and lift the heavy lid and smell the moth-ball scent that wafted from within.
I was surprised to find that having in my posession all of these items that belonged to the woman who gave birth to me meant little. Perhaps I hoped that I would find the essence of who she was and was disappointed when it wasn’t there.
I remember being somewhat numb and disappointed as I looked through the trunk, about to give up, when I found something in the bottom that I knew was meant for me to have.