Friday, January 7, 2011

Life's Treasure Boxes

I finished reading Book No. 1 a few days ago! Only 110 left to go on my Centurions quest to read 111 books this year. Mama Mia!

I loved, loved, loved, loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows). Did I mention how much I love this book? It will always and forever be in my book collection. And I will always and forever want to travel to Guernsey. The writing was so alive that should I ever have the opportunity to explore Guernsey, I will expect to meet all of the characters whose letters made up the book. I still can't get over how, with so many characters, the authors manage to carve distinct and unique lives and voices for each of them. It's books like this one that make me realize I will never have what it takes to write a publishable book. Sigh.

One brief spot in the book, consisting of maybe four sentences, had me sobbing. Four-year-old Kit, the orphaned daughter of a woman who had been executed in a German concentration camp, toted a small box tied with ribbon with her wherever she went. Everyone called it her "treasure box." It wasn't until late in the novel that the box's treasures were revealed. It contained mementos of her mother, including the last note she had written concerning Kit.

Like Kit, my mother passed away when I was a young girl. A rare form of cancer. It was Halloween night, and I was five years old. I don't remember my mother well; I was young, and the passing years have stolen most of the concrete memories from my mind. But I have treasures, the most prized of which is a handwritten letter my mother sent to one of her friends when I was a toddler. In the letter, my mom wrote about my upcoming birthday, and the cake she was going to make for me. She sounded happy. I remember those cakes: Fluffy angel food with pink icing and little candy decals for decoration. They still make those decals, and I find myself buying some every year for my own daughters' birthdays. For some reason, her friend kept the letter and was kind enough to send it my way. I can see my mother's handwriting; I can hear her voice through those words.

But unlike Kit, I don't have a designated treasure box. My treasures are stored here and there around the house. But after reading this book (which, by the way, includes a few other characters who have treasure boxes), I want one. And I'm going to make one. Just for my mamma's stuff.

What about you? What do you treasure? And do you have a treasure box like Kit?

1 comment:

  1. Just finished this book last night. I LOVED it! One of my favorite lines: "I feel as though I've emerged from a black tunnel and found myself in the middle of a carnival. I don't particularly care for carnivals, but after the tunnel, it's delicious." Thanks for the recommendation!