When I first went off to college, so many years ago, my parents bought be a big navy blue colored trunk to take with me. I used it to transport school supplies, clothes and any other necessities needed for my dorm room. During my years of education the trunk was too bulky to use every time I went home and back, so it ended up being more a decoration for the room. Sometimes it was a coffee table. Other times it held up a sagging bed. Most often it was a seat used by others who were hanging out in my room.
After college and during my first marriage it became a store-all for important things from my past. My ex-wife used it to keep all the things my Mother had given me, things from my childhood and high school years. Over the years the trunk and its contents moved with us many times. From college in Alabama, to Georgia then Tennessee, to Virginia, back to Tennessee, on to West Virginia then to Florida, and then back to Tennessee. From there it traveled with us again to Alabama, out to Oklahoma and then finally back here to Bama once again. During all this time it continued to collect objects and material from my past.
Over the past few years it’s remained sealed. It was that blue rectangular thing, taking up a corner in an attic or garage or the out building, depending on where we lived. I had a decent idea of what was in there, but never really had a need to crack open it’s lock and dive into the contents of my past. That was until yesterday...
Over the past two years Susan has been gradually transferring the contents of our attic from cardboard boxes into nice Rubbermaid containers. She’s taken boxes of old college fraternity t-shirts of mine, books, my TV Guide collection (1979-1990), my childhood toys (Star Wars action figures and ships and G.I. Joe toys), etc and put them all into these containers. The one thing that was left out was my big blue trunk. Recently she suggested we get some containers to store the contents of my trunk. She asked me what was in there, and I told her it was just crap from High School and college...but I wasn’t exactly sure. It had been a while since I had last looked.
Yesterday I decided to dig into it’s contents and take a look....
We had intended to watch the Tennessee/Memphis game on pay per view, but that didn’t work out. Instead Susan went shopping and I went out and raked leaves. The raking only lasted about an hour and I found I had some time on my hands. I decided to drag the trunk from the walk-in section of our attic, into the guest room and take a look at what was inside. I set it up onto the bed and began taking out each item, piece by piece. Over the next hour I was transported back in time.
I read notes from girls I dated in High School and I looked over several of my report cards. (A D in consumer math? WTF?
) I thumbed through my year books from Junior High, and read all the get well cards from when I had meningitis. Then I found my class folders from college, including the one from my fraternity. I read through my notes from chapter meetings and the outline I made for a pledge trip I had organized. I read the letters my Mom had written me. Almost all of them mentioned saving money, studying hard, and not putting too much focus into fraternity life. Then there was the letters from my Dad. My favorite said, “This check should last you till Spring. Be sure to save and spend it wisely. I got the Phillips 66 bill yesterday and was very upset to see all the charges. Only use that card for emergencies!
” Yeah, I can’t count the chips, cokes and Copenhagen Snuff I bought with that gas card.
I also found letters written to me while I was in college from my best friend in High School, Brad. Later he was a M.P. deployed in Iraq during the first Gulf War. Each of his letters talked about how he missed pretty girls, good food, and how he’d taken up dipping Copenhagen again. Then I found a letter from another great friend, post marked Tokyo, Japan. Bo Snagley
spent some time as a missionary in that country and had written me one letter while he was there. If anyone cares I would be happy to transcribe the entire letter here in a future post. Heck, I’d even scan the thing and post it, but I seriously doubt you’d be able to read his writing.
The one find that meant the most to me were my journals. From 1981 through 1986 I kept a daily journal, at the insistence of my Mother. She was, and still is, a diary writer. I couldn’t make myself say I was writing a diary, it sounded too feminine, so I called them “journals
”. I guess, in retrospect, they were an early life long addiction. Here I am, more than 20 years later, still keeping a journal. I would have never thought, back in 1984, that I would someday be sitting in my own living room, with a ultra thin “type writer thing” sitting on my lap, writing about things in my life for anyone in the world to read if they wanted. Wow, how times have changed!
Saturday was a pretty good day. I took a nice trip back in time. The stuff I found means a lot to me, and I think some of it could even be fuel for future posts. Oh, wow....you should see the photo album of pictures I collected from 9th grade on into college. Talk about memories....
That's all for now.