I have a little black box. It’s nothing special. In fact, it is nothing more than one of those portable file folder carrying boxes made of black plastic, with a latch on one side and a handle on top. It is a ‘leftover’ from my days of being a sales director for three different hotel properties, all owned by the same owners, and it served me well when traveling from location to location, keeping pertinent information handy for each property.
Since I’m a large activist for re-use, re-purpose, recycle, I decided that this box was just the right size in which I could keep important papers (like my certificate of birth, school diplomas, divorce decrees and other legal documents, etc.) and also some important treasures in the form of cards or letters that I didn’t want to discard. I keep it in an easy-to-reach location just in case I would need to retrieve it quickly and escape my dwelling.
Over the years, I’ve added a meaningful card or letter to it, but merely popping open the latch and dropping it in. It’s been eons since I’ve actually looked at what was inside the box.
Recently, my brother asked me if I had saved a copy of a letter that was sent to each of us, identical in nature and addressed to both of us in the heading. I didn’t think I had kept it, but knew that, if I had, it would be in that black box for safekeeping. So I opened the black box in search.
I did not find the letter. I honestly didn’t expect to, but if there was even the slimmest chance, having it could make a big difference in a project we’re working on together. However, in order to look for the letter, I had to withdraw each item from inside the box, and I was surprised to find things in there I didn’t know I had saved!
I knew I would find obituaries from the newspapers of loved ones; along with any programs or other printed information regarding their passing. I knew I’d find a letter I’d received just a few short years ago from my friend, Marnette (aka Prin), and different birthday cards which contained emotional messages or which made me laugh out loud when I read them.
What I didn’t know I’d find, and which I had told myself must have gotten lost in my last move, was a notebook full of page-protector sheets for each of the poems I had written back in my 20s and 30s. I truly believed that those words were forever lost, and I can tell you that I was extremely happy and excited to open the notebook and see what was inside!
What I also found, and didn’t remember I had chosen to keep, was a personal journal I had written in (almost) daily between August of 1992 and April of 1993 to put into words what and how I was feeling over an unexpected and instant death of my significant other. I added one additional entry in January of 2014, in which I’d written where I’d found the journal and where I was going to keep it. It was exactly where I’d said I was going to put it, but I honestly don’t remember making that decision. I started looking through the first couple of pages and realized I wasn’t in a place at the time to go back through and read it, so it’s tucked away again in case that time ever comes.
There is a VHS tape tucked in the black box from my visit to Niagara Falls with my then boyfriend, Randy. He took video of many sites and sounds during that trip, and it’s the one and only time I’ve ever been to the falls. To be honest, I’d watch it again right now if I had the means!
There was a small jewelry box and a blue folder I didn’t recognize. The blue folder is actually the appraised value in 2011 of the item of jewelry that is in the small jewelry box. This was another thing I had completely forgotten I’d even had, though I suspect I’d tucked it away to become part of my estate when my time on earth was over. I’m considering having it re-appraised, to see if it’s gone up or down significantly in the past almost 11 years. If it has gone up in value, and there is no fruit borne from the project my brother and I are working on, I may end up selling it. But I’m not in any hurry right now.
I admit that it was a bit of a shock to realize that this little black plastic box contained items that were not only near and dear to me emotionally, but that also had some financial value! I have pulled the notebook containing my poetry out, and am considering sharing some of that time in my life in this blog through its words. Since I haven’t written here for a while because my plate in life has been heaped to overflowing recently, this will allow me to add some posts!
I am going to look through all of the miscellaneous cards and letters, not only to enjoy the memories but to see if there is still an emotional attachment to them. I suspect that all of them will be returned to the box.
It still makes me shake my head in disbelief that such an inexpensive small plastic box holds a world of irreplaceable treasure!
If you’ve got a little black box of your own somewhere, I encourage you to find it and go through it. You never know what kind of treasures await you there!
P.S. To my brother: Since it has been deemed that I will leave this earth before you, keep this little black box in mind as one of the things you’ll want to find and sort through first to make your work as my executor a little bit easier!