Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)
TITLE: Mammaw's Memory Trunk
By Laura Anne Harrison
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Twenty-one years after Mammaw’s death, I sat on the faded, hand-woven rug that lay on the dark hardwood floor of her small bedroom. Memories of sitting at the foot of her rocking chair on that little rug in front of an aged trunk with its worn, buckled leather straps spilled out of the corner of my mind. Beside her bed, in the center of a wooden nightstand, a modest lamp spread dim, hazy light across the room to the plain white wall where a mid-1930s wooden fame held a somewhat faded photograph of her and Granddaddy with two of their children. The only other piece of furniture in the room was a relatively small chest of drawers with a mirror. Yet, nothing in that room triggered my imagination or fascinated me more than the old trunk.
Numerous times, during my growing-up years of sitting at her feet, I asked, “Mammaw, what’s inside that trunk?”
As she removed the wire-framed glasses from her nose, pressed the earpieces between her thumbs and index fingers, her reply was simply, “That’s my memory trunk, honey.” The conversation that followed was always the same:
“What’s a memory trunk, Mammaw?”
“Everybody has memories, child. My memories are in that trunk.”
“Can I look at your memories, Mammaw?”
“Maybe some day, honey. Maybe someday.”
. . . . . .
Although the large, old trunk that sat in one corner of Mammaw’s bedroom for all the years she was with us filled my child’s mind with curiosity and fascination for many years, it was not until after her death that I actually saw the saw and held in my hands, the contents of that trunk. A 30-year-old bride of three months, I begged my mother to open the trunk and stood beside her as she opened her mother’s trunk and discovered the treasures of memories that lay within.
Standing at mother’s side, I watched as her fingers quickly flipped through the neatly stacked old letters and picture postcards tied together with strong, thick strings. Her hands, swiftly passed over my grandfather’s 1917-1919 journal and his handwritten sermons and stories, and paused briefly over photographs of people that I never knew existed, then moved on passed the old magazines and newspaper clippings that lay underneath. With her lips pressed tightly together, Mother’s stoic face showed no emotion. Suddenly without warning or explanation, her hands slammed the trunk shut! The old trunk remained close until after mother’s death nine years later, when the inheritance of Mammaw’s memory trunk became mine.
. . . . . .
The passage of years and time has brought me back again to Mammaw’s Memory Trunk. . . As the “Mammaw” of our family, I continue to add special treasures to the trunk for the next generation . . .
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