Friday, February 12, 2010

The Treasure Box

Francis, a genial giant as big as a fairy tale, delivers packages and parcels in my part of town.
Francis must believe in parcels because his face always splits in a satisfied and cheerful grin when he deposits a brown paper package into my surprised arms.
I suspect he sees himself as a bringer of gifts and good things. I don't think he's wrong.

Francis hammered on my door last week. My sister-in-law had sent me a box of family ephemera.

Sitting on the living room floor, I ripped off the wrapping and opened the box -- and listened to the whispered voices from the past that rose up like dust motes in the late afternoon sun.

Old photographs, an autograph book, a box of vintage jewellery, a tarnished baby spoon, a fragile Christmas ornament that bore a story, invitations and programs, letters and cards to people long dead.

On the back of the valentine from some shy and anonymous suitor above is written in ink "From one who loves you Best of all," and a date "Feb 8, 1935."
The verse on the front reads:
This valentine is sent
With friendly wish and good intent
And greetings warm and kind
And if some loving thoughts should hide
Beneath the lace or way inside
I hope you will not mind.
My Valentine to each and every one of you.


fairyhedgehog said...

Bernita, you are a treasure!

Anonymous said...

That's lovely. And happy Valentine's to you as well.

Bernita said...

Fairy, you are sweet!

Thank you, SWN. It's a stand-up valentine, the paper accordion still intact after 75 years.

raine said...

That is so pretty.
Always gives me a sort of wistful feeling to read old sentiments from lovers. One hopes the feeling stayed true.

Hope your Valentine's Day is a good one, Bernita. We heart you.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Raine.
I'll have to compare handwriting, but if the valentine is from whom I suspect, I think it did.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

What a wonderful box to receive!

laughingwolf said...

perfect... and happy velentine's to you and yours, m'dear :)

bunnygirl said...

Thank you for sharing this. I love old card, letters, and things like that. The past may look different from the present, but emotions are timeless.

Happy Almost-Valentine's Day!

Bernita said...

T'was, Betsy...full of the weave of wonder.

Thank you, LW.I hope someone gives you chocolate.

Bunnygirl, it was the most extraordinary collection! It included handerchiefs and tiny china dolls. The "youngest" item must be at least 50 years old.

BernardL said...

I sat one evening long ago with my wife's grandmother, helping her label pictures, keepsakes, and postcards going back into the 1700's. It was one of the most memorable nights of my life.

Bernita said...

"It was one of the most memorable nights of my life."
Bernard, yes, the span of history reflected in those keepsakes.
Some of these things I can only guess at.

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow, how lovely! I hope you find out more about where it came from - if you want to, that is...

Bernita said...

I'll definitely check the handwriting against old letters and such, Alex!

Apparently there was a romantic trend to pose as "l'inconnu"

Lana Gramlich said...

That's so sweet. :)

Whirlochre said...

I'd love to have received that one.

Much better than the LUV U or GET YOUR PANTZ OFF offerings you seem to get today.

Or bears.

What is it with bears? Don't people know they can kill you?

McKoala said...


Bernita said...

And so very respectful, Lana!

Bears? Whirl, don't tell me you never had a fuzzy teddy bear as a child!

My scanner doesn't do the gilt and embossing justice, McKoala.

Gabriele C. said...

Most of those items were lost in the war and the following flight from the Russian occupation. After the Reunion, I only found some diary pages from by late grandfather in the house the family abandoned because they deemed freedom more important than possessions.

Happy Valentine Day to you.

The flower and candy industry tries to guilt Germans into celebrating it, but it doesn't really take off here. ;)

Suzanne Perazzini said...

What a great parcel to receive. Happy Valentine's Day to you as well. I just saw the movie and though it was no great piece of movie-making, I enjoyed it.

Bernita said...

And I live a thousand miles from where I was born, Gabriele, which is why this box of small things is such a treasure.

Thank you.
I sometimes think that Valentine's Day has become more automatic than romantic.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Suzanne.
(and here I am watching Die Hard...)

Anonymous said...

Happy Valentine's to you too, Bernita. :) That is a lovely verse.

Natasha Fondren said...

Wow! So neat! You make me think that I throw too much stuff away. :-( I have so few remnants to remind me.

Sending you hugs and love on Valentine's Day, Bernita.

Bernita said...

Jason and Natasha, thank you, dear friends!

SzélsőFa said...

i love how your simple yet lovely message was hidden and how you let your readers find it, like something hidden at the bottom of an old friendly box.
i'm wishing you the same.

Bernita said...

Thank you, SzelsoFa.
You are most discerning!

writtenwyrdd said...

Belated valentines day wishes to you, too, Bernita.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Written.
God wishes are never too late.