"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Box of Treasures

Sorry, this isn't the long boring technical post I promised.

I was digging through some boxes of stuff, looking for anything dated 1960. Glaven's turning 50 on the 15th and I thought it'd be funny to send him the first random item I found stamped with the year of his birth. I expected it would be a Reader's Digest book-of-the-month, as my grandmother received them back at that time... but I've actually cleaned out that particular pile of crap.

Opening one box, I found a high school photo of my friend Scott, whose birthday happens to be May 14. I also found some stuff of my brother Don's (birthday May 12). I couldn't remember what was in some of the boxes, but it's always an excursion down memory lane.

I opened one and found foreign coins and currency. So, the first things stamped 1960 were an Australian roo penny and a 20 centavo Mexican piece, both big hunks of copper that cost too much to mail. Then I saw something more unusual - a Japanese 1 Peso note; yes, Japanese, yes Peso. It was from occupied Philippines (1942-45) and was a tontine bill, where members of a company all signed the bill. It was all women, mostly captains, all Spanish names (hospital staff, perhaps). If any of them are still alive, they might want to see it again.

The next box was the special one. Some children have a "box of treasures" wherein they place things that have special meaning to them, whether a shiny rock, a piece of fossilized candy or a lost tooth. I still have mine. In it was something I'd looked really hard for two years ago: a Lesney Matchbox #19 Lotus car. I nearly cried. Here's the story behind it:

On my 6th birthday, my party was televised (I have the tape) and the one person I wanted there, my best friend Tony, had just moved away, to the impossibly distant town of White Bear Lake (about 8 miles). A few days before they moved, Tony and his parents walked to my house and Tony handed me my birthday present - that car. It was nothing I wanted. It made no sense. It wasn't even wrapped. But it came from my best friend and thus it was special.

I thought Tony was the greatest, luckiest, happiest kid in the world. Actually, he came from an abusive family; I didn't piece that together for a couple of years. When they moved, his father wouldn't let him bring any of his toys, so to save his prized possession, he gave it to me. I've had it for over 40 years and kept it in mint condition (it's worth about $15). Tony died two years ago, under bad circumstances; his was not a happy life, it appears. I really wanted to take the car to his funeral, but couldn't find it then.

Back in the box it goes.


Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Wow. Sad story. No wonder you nearly cried. Weird how things that didn't make sense as a kid, or just seemed fine or unremarkable at the time become ... what? ... fraught with meaning over the years after you gain the ability to view them with a bit more wisdom and insight.

What a mean thing to do to a kid! Not let him keep his toys. I don't understand how people can be so mean to their own kids. Sometimes the psychological abuse is worse than the physical.

I had a happy childhood. Don't bother sending me anything. I'm running a 5k on my birthday and, as a result, Teh 'Bride has to take Ian to a fishing tournament that's being held that same day. It would have been me to take him, otherwise. That's all the present I want.

Just post something interesting on May 15th. Save yourself the postage.

(I like it when people save money.)

SteveQ said...

Thanx a bunch, G., now I have to actually try to be interesting on demand! No pressure there!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

What else can the man who has every material thing he wants ask for?

Make me something NEW! Something that didn't exist before!

Then ... cede me the intellectual property rights.

Jean said...

Great post, Steve. It reminded me of when I was moving a few years ago and stumbled upon a box containing my stuffed bunny rabbit from my childhood. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Helen said...

When I look back at my childhood friends it is often those who seemed to have everything that I now realize had the roughest homelives. Still, I suppose that innocence as a kid was not a bad thing.

RBR said...

If I may repeat myself,

I adore you.

Oh, and I don't buy the pink AND orange thing. You have to look good in one or the other. An man that can rock mud as well as you must look good in warm earth tones.

Personally, if I wear orange or yellow I look like I have some sort of biliary disease or am in acute hepatic failure