Sagging shoebox, size 9 Capezio flats
I know the contents by heart:
The detritus from my scavenger-hunt life.
Tiny brass safety pins and
Matchbooks with addresses, no zip codes
Folded paper placemat from a Chinese restaurant
Carpet the bottom of the box.
Brown braid loosely tied with plaid ribbon,
Valentine card, plastic raindrop on single rose
Empty fountain pen cartridge
John Sebastian autograph
Grease pencil from my mom’s uniform pocket.
Class ring for smaller knuckles
Indian head nickel, no date, no use
Blue crystal beads from Budapest
Yo-yo with twisted cord
Frank Church campaign button
My dad’s shoehorn
One dime, one nickel, two pennies**
But no shoes.
**In 1988, when Erica was in first grade and Audrey in third, we left Idaho for Pennsylvania. On their last day of school I visited their classrooms to say goodbye to their teachers. Erica was cleaning out her little desk while I thanked her teacher. Looking around her room my eyes filled with tears. When I looked down there she stood holding something in her hand. In my palm Erica placed 17 cents she’d squirreled away in her desk. She said, ‘Here, Mom. Take this and go buy yourself some milk.’