I challenged a friend and fellow artist to write an essay. Included is her piece that captures the concept of time and memory in such a lovely way...
If Boxes Could Talk
by Medge Dayton
When I looked through my extensive collection of cardboard boxes, I realized I needed to make a trip to a local storage facility to purchase just the right size box for mailing. I entered the office and observed a variety of boxes neatly stacked according to size--large ones for hanging garments, medium ones for various purposes. Small ones as well. I bought two. When I returned home, I was pleased that one of the boxes was the perfect size for mailing the items I'd carefully wrapped and tied with a bright yellow ribbon for a dear friend's birthday. As I placed the gifts into the box, I could picture my friend's excitement and pleasure. The box held happy moments for both of us.
Holding onto my thoughts throughout the day, I contemplated the various human emotions associated with boxes--how those emotions play out in our lives. I recalled a sad email I'd received a few days earlier. The boxes packed by a family of five would be far from joyful. The breadwinner had been told he was no longer needed by his employer. Breaking the news to his wife and children was painful--an eviction notice imminent, the rent already past due. Where would they go? What would they do? Who would help? Perhaps the boxes labeled boldly in black (kitchen, living room, books, toys) also contained myriad tears.
On the flip side, a businessman receiving a promotion and substantial pay raise could come home to his family hardly able to stifle his joy. The family might be moving to a larger home in a more prestigious neighborhood. Better schools for the children. Long-awaited and hoped for, the American dream would come to fruition. The family would pack their boxes with gusto.
Some boxes require personal delivery. Others are loaded into cars and moving vans. Some will take up temporary residence in a closet, attic or basement. Still others will be headed for the trash. Boxes are necessary for many occasions throughout our lives--graduations, going off to college, weddings, births and even deaths. I imagined adult children arriving at their childhood home with empty boxes, hesitantly packing and redistributing a lifetime of their parents' collectibles. They'd cry and even laugh as they reflected upon memories and held mementos that symbolized meaning for their circle of loved ones.
I no longer consider boxes merely receptacles constructed of pressed and manufactured paper and glue. Boxes can be repositories, vessels, archives, pokes, hoppers, temporary vaults, archives and even time capsules. Why, if boxes could talk, surely they'd tell a story--the story of a lifetime.
A native of Pennsylvania, Medge Dayton now lives in South Carolina. She graduated from high school in 1951 and attended Penn State. She is retired and regularly volunteers at a local hospital. Medge is an avid reader, loves poetry and can fix most anything.