Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Bookends (01/30/14)
TITLE: Out of the Boxes
By Anita van der Elst
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“Those,” I say, pointing at the banker’s boxes with my name on them. “See, I marked them clearly. Creative Arts, Writing Projects, Personal History.” My husband moves other boxes so he can get to them.
“Let’s look inside,” he says. “Make sure they have what you want.”
We lift lids but I already know they do. My mind shifts back as I remember packing…
Being a small book, there is just enough space to slide Room to Write into the filing box at the end. I settle the upended metal bookends on top, their bottoms flat against the tightly packed books, their backs sliding down inside the box. Sitting back on my sore haunches, because that’s what packing for a move does to someone my age, I plop the lid on the box. The sound of the black felt pen as I list the contents on the box makes my skin crawl. Ugh, almost dry. How many boxes have I jotted on for how many moves in the past eight years? But I’m not about to buy new felt pens now. This is the last time I will make a move as major as this one, I tell myself.
I look at these last three boxes. My trove of creative writing treasures. One box has books that I go to for help on how to write, or to get my creative juices flowing. One contains my own personal history—journals, letters, birth certificate, genealogies from three parts of my family tree. I wonder if I’ll ever know the story of the fourth. The last is a collection of stories, poems, and meandering musings that have found their way, from my heart and the circular place my brain can be, out through my fingers, sometimes conveyed onto paper with pen, but more often with keyboard on laptop and then spewed out my printer.
I think of where I’m moving—the beautiful Pacific Northwest…a place that serves as the bookends to my life. If I could carve a set out of wood, one bookend would feature farmlands, where I was born and raised, and Bellingham, where I shopped and worked as a young woman. The other would showcase majestic Mount Baker, and maybe a Dutch windmill, as the place God has chosen for my husband and me to reassemble our lives. In between the two, my thirty years in southern California, a series of adventure, romance, joys and loss, with new understanding gained…
It takes awhile to settle in after a 1,300 mile move. Even though we down-sized before loading the Penske travel truck, our small apartment necessitated a portion of our belongings be stored elsewhere. The boxes, now retrieved, gape at me. Not a lot of space for placing the contents on bookshelves but somehow I will make do. I feel like a large part of my life has been restored. Lifting out the bookends, I begin to get reacquainted with who I am.
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