Walter Mencken 9:21 p.m., Oct. 20
- Community Blog
- That Old Box
That Old Box
It’s amazing how things happen. I moved out of a house I was renting in Chula Vista for a few years and had put some stuff in a storage unit. Every now and then I like to thin the storage unit out and on one of those occasions I came across this old foot locker.
I have been dealing with this particular foot locker for many years. Its heavy and every time I have moved over the years I would take it to the next place and it would end up back in the garage. I knew what was in it or so I thought. It was full of stuff I wanted to sift through and someday get rid of like some old letters from my college days and a few photos from high school days etc etc.
Last week I dusted off this now rusted and badly dented old foot locker, opened the lid and began a task I thought would take no more the five minute, which found me four hours later finding things I had completely forgot had existed. For example I found a journal I had kept when I was about 13 years old, a class assignment that I had forgot all about and thought I had completed 35 years ago. Inside were questions like, "What do you think about your parents?", "Did I think I would be successful?" and "What will you never allow your children to do?"
After reading the entire journal, 35 years later, it occurred to me that I had not competed that assignment until that moment. This time when I read those questions, I knew the answer because I didn’t have my 14 year old son Brandon or my 12 year old daughter Rachel the first time. I also realized the grade I earned on that assignment, "A minus", was not the final grade at all. It was I giving me the final grade, due to the fact that 35 years later this 47 year old man could finally let that 13 year old boy know if the answers he wrote in that journal were true or false. Simply amazing how accurate that 13 year old 8th grader was in the answers he gave and how this 47 year old man's feelings about certain things were exactly the same way that 13 year old 8th grader felt about those same things 35 years ago. I gave myself an "A" for those of you who were wondering.
What amazing forethought my 8th grade teacher, Mrs. Rees at Covington Jr. High School, Los Altos CA, had by giving her class that assignment. How did she know that it would take this long to complete the assignment she gave me so many years ago? I don’t know if any of my classmates hung on to their journal, but I am sure glad my mom threw it in that footlocker with all my other junk. My first thought was to share it with my two children, Brandon and Rachel who are both about that same age as I was when I wrote the journal.
That was a real treasure for me and that foot locker was full of them. I found my high school diploma, my Eagle Scout certificate and the list goes on. There was not one single item in that old box I could throw away. I would love to find Mrs. Rees and tell her how grateful I am to have had such a wonderful teacher and let her know what my final grade was.