“Just throw it in the basement. You never know when we could use it”
We did that with things for over 30 years. It’s remarkable how, even in a large house, you find ways to fill it — and we found ways to fill our basement with food, extra clothes, things that belonged to relatives we couldn’t throw away, tools and knick knacks.
We had things in there we didn’t even know we had, just happy to know they were there. And then came Sandy.
A water surge and 4 feet of salty smelly sand flooded it nearly to the ceiling. We couldn’t save much. It was hard to imagine that all the “things” we had been saving would find their way to the curb and the garbage dump. In the haste to remove the mess, we all got caught up in the removal and it wasn`t until later, when we looked at the photos we had taken for the insurance company, that we we realized just how much was gone.
Needless to say, we were among the lucky ones, since our house was still standing. But it was heart wrenching to see Mike`s Navy uniforms caked in mud and thrown over grandma`s Singer sewing machine from the 1930`s on the street.
Weeks later Mike was officially using the bedroom closet on the second floor after 30 years of dressing in the basement when we came upon a memory. In moving stuff around I heard a familiar sound at my feet.
I looked under a blanket and there it was — my mother`s candy music box.
It used to be in the basement, part of the “you never know when we could use it” pile. But I had brought it upstairs months earlier after writing about it for the Tomato; in a moment of laziness, I never put it back.
I removed the lid and looked at the glass insert, evenly divided into 3 parts. I smiled with the memory of what I knew was kept there. My mother loved sweets and she always put tasty ones in the glass container. One day it might have been gumdrops, M&M`s and Goober peanuts.
Another day it might have been chocolate kisses, mints and sour balls. It was always filled, until I would sneak a taste of the delectable treats. I would have to make sure to depress the spring so my mother would not hear the music, but other times I would let the beautiful song play out. Then I would dance around the room as the music slowed to a stop and still savor the sweet in my mouth. “Preserve your memories” Simon & Garfunkel once sang long ago.
Holding the music box in my arms brought back a time for me, when life was perfect, with only music and sweets to round out the days. I am so happy that this object was saved from the basement`s fate, and hope that others would find a memory in Sandy`s wake.