Where your heart is, there will your treasure be also.
A torn flyer from the 1939 World’s Fair.
Faded movie ticket stubs for Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz.
A bill of lading with my husband’s signature scrawled at the bottom.
A bent spoon from the soup kitchen where I volunteered to feed the homeless.
A bullet casing from the assembly line where I worked during the war.
A strip of black-and-white photos of Fredo and me making funny faces inside a booth at Coney Island.
To my children, these are bits of useless junk–like me–things to be recycled, given away, or tossed casually into the trash without a second glance. To me, they are precious–like a pearl of great price, or a treasure hidden in a field.
It’s a sad thing when a major part of your life ends up at the bottom of a trashcan.
Three large packing boxes line the wall, marked with the words
The boxes are filling up fast. Another, much smaller carton, stands alone in the corner. It’s labeled:
So far, nothing’s gone into that one.”Daddy’s been gone for five years,” Dorothy said. “You can’t take care of yourself anymore, Mother. That stroke left you paralyzed on one side. You can’t walk without assistance. You can’t cook for yourself. You barely can comb your own hair.” She sweeps her hand toward the row of boxes. “Do you know what you’ve become, Mother? You’re a hoarder.”
Dorothy glides past me with an armload of my stuff. She doesn’t pause to ask my opinion, just tosses my personal things into whatever box fits her whim. Or she feeds my precious treasures into the trashcan. Then she moves on as if I’m not even here. As each item leaves my daughter’s hand, I travel back to another time and place.