OUT OF THE BOX
“Out of the box!” Jan plopped her books on the kitchen table and slid into the first chair that accepted her.
“Can you believe that’s our English assignment for this week, to write something creative and 'Out of the box'?” Her words, tinged with a bit of disdain, hung in thin air until her Mom turned away from the kitchen sink, wiped her hands on her apron, and sat down next to her irate daughter.
“Honey, sounds as if you’re really bothered by this assignment, but I’m sure you’re can do it. Remember what I’ve always told you. Nothing beats a failure but a try.” Jan pushed back her chair, picked up her books with as much force as she had laid them down, and smiled back at Mom.
“You always manage to say just the right words at just the right time. Let me get at it.”
Upstairs in the room where she and her older sister, Deb had shared a lifetime of giggles, secrets and tears, Jan flopped down on her bed and stared at her sister’s empty bed.
She would have known what to do, she thought. All through high school Deb aced term papers, and English assignments which handed her the sought after position as editor of the school newspaper. She really missed her big sister, and the thought of her coming home from college for the Christmas holiday was all Jan needed to make her prop herself against a wad of pillows and begin to daydream.
Coming to Grandma and Paw Paw’s house was not the best vacation in the world; it was an experience no child should have to live without. The huge mustard colored Victorian farmhouse with red trim had all the nooks and crannies necessary to play hide and seek, and as long as they wanted. Sometimes, she and Deb just gave up after it took so long to find each other.
On sunny days, wide opened fields beckoned them. She could never count how many stories they made up as they lay under the gigantic Maple tree that stood quite safe enough from the house. Deb’s stories were always better than hers.
On days when the rain kept them from their favorite spot, she and Deb headed up the long stairs to the second floor bathroom. Inside the bathroom was a project Paw Paw had never gotten around to doing. So for sixty years, and she supposed even now, the entrance to the attic remained in the second floor bathroom.
Their climb to the attic was like stepping back in time.
As the rain pounded on the rafters, the two of them pranced around the attic that was almost as big and wide as the farmhouse. Large windows allowed light to flow into the cubbies formed by the outside gables. This was a playhouse, a skating rink, a race track, and every thing else they pretended it to be. Their usual search for treasures usually began after “let’s pretend.” Each time they always managed to find something different.
On that rainy day which now seemed so long gone, they discovered a barrel with the name Alice written at the top.
“Why, that’s Grandma’s name,” they both said in unison. No further incentive needed. Eagerly they pulled at the cover until if fell off. Two pint size hands, one left and one right, grabbed at the little white box that lay on top. Together they pulled it out, and with heads as close as Siamese twins they read the words on the box.
From Luke to Alis with love; and in parenthesis (four graed). It was time for roll on the floor laughter at thought of Grandma having a boyfriend at their age, and more over, not even Paw Paw. They laughed so hard that they almost forgot to look inside. Inside was a ring that looked as if it had come from a cereal box.
As if hit by lightening, Jan sprung from her nest of pillows, jumped gleefully on a bed instantly turned trampoline, and shouted so loud she was sure her Mom could hear.
“I’ve got it, I’ve got it. The little white box, I’ll write a story about the box and Grandma’s ring, and my title will be, “Out of the Box.”
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