Friday, August 05, 2005

#60 - A Trunkful of Memories

Mrs. Woody and I have begun the dreaded "move." You may recall that we're rearranging nearly the entire house so we can simultaneously give the girls separate rooms and still have an office/school room/scrapbook area. My feet and back will be in perpetual pain for at least the next three months. At least at the rate we're currently going.

Right now the target is our bedroom. This is the lynch pin of the entire reorg, because a rather significant piece of furniture from the living room needs to come in here before we can move anything else. Most unfortunately, our room has become the salvage yard of Hacienda Woody. If it has no home, it lives in our bedroom. I project this particular room will take at least a week to get through; more if we do the closet as well.

Last night, though, was fun. Mrs. Woody had a chance to go through her trunk. Like many girls, Mrs. Woody wanted a hope chest. Girls are always squirreling things away for the future, whether or not they ever get used, and the hope chest is their (oftentimes final) resting place. In Mrs. Woody's case, her hope chest is actually an old steamer trunk that sits at the end of our bed and acts as a valet for nearly everyone's clothes. I believe I can count the number of times I've actually seen the trunk on one hand. Anyway, I finally dug it out from under the piles last night and set it on the bed for Mrs. Woody to go through.

What a treasure trove! My fascination with all things historical means that a trunk like this really becomes a sort of time capsule -- a peek into the past with a chance to remember various parts of our youth. I say "our," because Mrs. Woody and I are the same age; we spent our high school years in the same ward in Church, although we attended different high schools. Thus, a lot of the memorabilia she has from her high school days looks awfully familiar to me. Things like American Bicentennial celebration trinkets, and toys that were vogue when we were young.

In another twist of destiny, we happened to serve at least parts of our missions in the same general geographical location. I served in Guatemala from 1978 to 1980, and she spent nine months in Honduras before medical issues forced a move to Houston. Most of the trinkets she bought in Honduras look eerily like some of the stuff I bought in Guate. Of course, she also bought stuff that I, as a male of the species, would never have dreamed of purchasing: things like Honduran baby clothes, or frilly stuff with which a female might cover an end table. You know... feminine stuff. She bought hand-carved wooden salad spoons and bowls. I bought a sling. Go figure.

Since one of Mrs. Woody's stated objectives was to eliminate stuff from the trunk so she could fit other stuff into it, the Woodyettes suddenly found themselves the benefactors of a windfall. Some items merely got tossed into a "donate" pile, but the kids were given such things as a Peanuts play set. They spent the rest of the night playing with Charlie Brown, Lucy and Linus, and discovering other interesting toys that Mommy used to play with. They also each have gotten something that they can put in their separate rooms, assuming Daddy lives long enough to finish this project.

Still, the Trunk Full of Memories (my name for it) was a fascinating activity. The "new" stuff that went into the trunk last night consisted of things that have become precious since Mrs. Woody and I first incorporated. Baby clothes that she intends to pass down to the Woodyettes, for example. I have written elsewhere about our clothing supply line between Mrs. Woody and her sister. These were items that Mrs. Woody just couldn't part with and pass back to her sis. It has always amazed husbands just how quickly as simple a thing as a knitted cap that one of the babies wore home from the hospital can make wives cry. I personally didn't start crying until I looked at the growing pile of "donate" items and realized that yours truly would have to bundle it all up, place it in the car, and carry it off to some charity or other.

Some day, perhaps, Mrs. Woody will have a "proper" hope chest. A nice cedar chest that won't look as if we're constantly in a condition to move, in case the Feds ever catch up with us. I don't think she minds, though. After all, it's not what the trunk looks like that matters; it's the memories.

Thank goodness for those!

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