A Plain Walnut Box

Standing on a step stool, I reached for the long plastic box that held my shorts through the winter. I spotted the walnut jewelry box pushed up beside the wall, just out of my reach.

It was placed high up in the closet sixteen years ago when we moved into this house. At that time, I couldn’t part with this box or the treasures it held. It didn’t fit in with the decor of the room, so it was put on the top shelf in the closet. It has occupied that space for many years, because as the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” Every year as I swapped my turtleneck sweaters for shorts I saw the box, but didn’t touch it. The plain walnut box and the treasures within were safe.

My father enjoyed creating with wood. This was one of the many items he built in his lifetime. He probably made it for me when I was in high school, which was about fifty years ago.

Curiosity made me grab a hanger to pull the box toward me. I used a tissue from my pocket to wipe the thick layer of dust off the top. Slowly I pulled out the top drawer.

I study the objects in the tray. I have no idea what the key would open. Is that a shark’s tooth or an animal claw necklace? Where did that come from? I remember the scarab earring, but what happened to the other earring?

Under the tray are more mysteries. Why do I have an elephant figurine? I do remember the scarab bracelet, the glass snowflake, the engraved charm, and the gold cross necklace. The ring and Christmas tree pin don’t even tickle a memory.

Treasures in this drawer include a pearl (fake) necklace, a broken butterfly necklace, a telephone stickpin, a jade necklace, two buttons, a sorority Greek letter necklace, and a small white box. Only two of the items stirred any memory.

What’s in the white box, you ask? Five dollars in coins, but look closer, some are quite old. The quarters are from 1936-1964.

What are they doing in my plain walnut box? What will I do with them?

I think I will part with some of these “treasures,” but I may find new treasure to fill in the spaces to be discovered another day.

11 thoughts on “A Plain Walnut Box

  1. What fun to wander through this box with you. Maybe it’s time for a story or two about the significant items. I love how you plan to purge and put in new treasures.

  2. Who knew a box would bring back memories? The elephant intrigued me. I love the creation your father made and smile thinking of the treasures will now add to it.

  3. Leigh Anne Eck says:

    I am playing catch-up today, and what a lovely surprise! I love that your dad made the box. And such an eclectic collection. Are any of the quarters pure silver? I bet they are!

    You know, my jewelry box drawers are full of things like this – some of the things are very similar to yours! I think I will be using your post for my inspiration next week! I can’t wait to share it with you!

  4. crushlevine says:

    “The ring and Christmas tree pin don’t even tickle a memory.” I love this phrase–tickle a memory. You make such simple moments feel universal and special all at the same time!

  5. Oh… this makes me squeal with delight because you know I love the promise of a surprise box! It was very satisfying for me to peek along layer by layer. I wonder if you will take anything out to keep and use?!

  6. Trina says:

    Thank you for sharing the contents of the walnut box with us.These are, indeed, treasures! My grandfather made me a similar box and I am not sure I know what is in it, either.

    Isn’t it interesting what we decide what to hold onto?

  7. Terje says:

    It was fascinating to peek into your treasure box. The fact that you can’t remember why some things are there makes the box mysterious.

  8. Oh boy! A treasure box! I’m glad you admitted that some things you don’t remember…some things you aren’t going to keep. I felt like I was right there with you, going through the box. So much fun!

  9. Curiosity made me grab a hanger to pull the box toward me. I used a tissue from my pocket to wipe the thick layer of dust off the top. Slowly I pulled out the top drawer.

    I love those details, Elsie and the step-by-step adventure into your past that you took us on… and not just treasuring the past but…

    I think I will part with some of these “treasures,” but I may find new treasure to fill in the spaces to be discovered another day.

    Loved it!
    Bonnie

  10. Julie says:

    It’s always interesting to go back and revisit the things we’ve carried. I enjoyed seeing what you’ve held on to!

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