The Memory Box

Memory BoxThis afternoon I opened a box full of memories.

The plan was to completely clean and organize the piles and boxes of clutter that have accumulated around the edges of my home office.. It's the kind of mess that sort of grows on you. An unfinished book here, a few magazines there, a few pieces of to be recycled electrical equipment in the corner. You know the look. Some call it "organized chaos." Today was my day to get it all back into shape. 

But I made that one big mistake. Even though I knew what was in the oversized plastic storage container - the one that is big enough to double as a Costco shopping cart - I unsnapped the lid and began sifting through a lifetime of this and that. One memory after another.

There was a little bit of everything in that box. From my birth certificate, baby book, and the old five-finger baseball glove my dad used when we played catch, to 40 years of greeting cards, family photos, autographs, and my grandmothers century-old diary. Memories from grade school, high school and college years were in the box too. There were Rose Bowl and Super Bowl programs., patches worn by race car drivers and world famous clowns. There was even a small packet of Mount St. Helen ash that had been hand collected after the 1980 eruption. 

And there among the many memories was another smaller box. If the big box was for treasure then this small box was pure gold. It's where innocence and love was stored away. Memories created by my children. The place that held the pictures drawn with color crayons, and letters written as only a child can write. And there were handmade coupon books with unredeamed offers for ice-cream dates, trips to the zoo, a game of catch, and a walk in the park. So much to think about and reflect on. Why, I wondered silently, are the words and colors filled with so much more meaning today? II'd been moving too fast and not soaking in all the goodness that was being given so freely to me. It's an edge that I missed at the time, and a lesson that I've learned quite well.

Don't open your memory box and find yourself unable to recognize the content. Live in the moment and realize that you are making new memories, for yourself and the people you love most, each and every day.

Different World
One of the memories inside my box was a "first book of poems" by a young author who dedicated the collection to his grandparents, Ed and Elsie Hale. Written nearly 20 years ago, in 1993, the first poem was packed full of my son Ryan's earliest childhood memories at his grandparents house. 

Grandma and Grandpa's House

Wandering around the backyard,
Exploring the acres of land,
finding animal tracks, and trees that had fallen
to the ground.
Racing bikes up and down the 
driveway using pop cans as obstacles.
Helping Grandpa take apart
the deck in the hot sun because he was 
building a new one.
Playing hid and seek around the yard
with brothers and sister, hiding around
the huge rocks and trees in the woods.
You have given me unforgettable memories
Grandma and Grandpa. Thank you fior
all the fun.

Inside the front cover of the booklet was a message... 
"Dad, Happy father's day! I love you a lot. Have a great day." 
Love, Ryan

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The Fine Print

Rod Brooks (that's me) is VP & CMO of PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company and serves as Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).  It's important to disclose both of those relationships and to be clear that this is my personal blog where I share thoughts and opinions that are solely my own.  Contact me!

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