The Box


Recently I went to a Japan Festival here in Kansas City. While there were quite a few interesting items to buy, the one that caught my eye the most was nothing more than a rather cheaply made box. Amongst all the kimonos and exotic foods, this is what enchanted me the most.

I bought other gifts but this box is what I had the most fun with. And I’ve done nothing more than put things in the box. It is three and a half inches long, two and a half inches wide. Two and a half inches tall. It has a wicker-wood made outing, and a red velvet lining inside.

The box doesn’t open very wide. If you force it open too wide it will break. I look and see what is inside. I scoop everything out onto the desk preparing to put it all back. There is something nice and satisfying with putting things in a box like this. Something orderly and right with the world that gives me a small thrill. Nothing to run outside and wave my arms about, but it does make my brain feel good.

A stopped pocket watch that belonged to my great-great-grandmother. She died in 1941 and the watch was given to her by her husband in 1896. My grandmother gave it to me a few years before SHE died. The watch’s original owner was her husband’s grandmother.

A small thin container of astronaut ice cream. It doesn’t taste like anything until you let it melt in your mouth for a second. This container is almost gone. I had bought another container for my nephew and niece to try. I also gave some to my best friend’s young boys.

A tiny toy car that came in two pieces to put together from a Kinder Egg. For those in the United States, a Kinder Egg is a popular German/European chocolate egg that comes with a small toy inside. It’s pretty much illegal in the United States because of the small pieces inside. But sometimes you can find one somewhere.

A small locket without a chain with my mother’s parents’ photos inside. My grandmother on the left. My grandfather and grandmother on the right. I never met my grandmother. She died eleven years before I was born. My grandfather I knew well, and he died fifteen years ago.

A small Moomin bookclip. It shows Moomin reading a book. I was excited to see something with Moomin on it, as you rarely hear or see Moomins in the US. They are all over Europe and Asia.

A wooden-bead bracelet given to me by one of my best friends. I’ve known her for almost twenty-five years. We met at a Kinder Care on my first day. My mom had dressed me up in a dress. After she left I stood in the play area watching all the dressed down kids playing with Legos or coloring. She was at the table making something with Play-Doh. Our eyes locked and she glared at me.

A tiny dinosaur I found on the sidewalk. A tiny seashell I keep because it’s hard to go and find them in the wild when you live in the Midwest. A tiny pewter pig sent to me by an Internet friend. She got it from a London museum.

A ring that belonged to my great-grandmother. It has three stones in it, representing the birth stones of herself and her two daughters. My great-grandmother outlived both of them by nearly twenty years.

A bracelet belonging to my father’s mother. It has three charms, all of them heads with the name and date of birth of her three sons. A Freemason/Shriner ring belonging to my mother’s father. It’s way too big for me to wear but sometimes I put it on a chain and wear it on my neck.

Looking at everything one would think it was junk. I would certainly think so if somebody else owned it and I just glanced at it. But every possession we own has it’s own fascinating history. Every rock on the ground or cheap plastic toy has a story to tell. It’s the little things that make up life.


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