Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday Morning Writing Prompt, March 7

Welcome March!

Anyone out there do spring cleaning? Even if you don't you can participate in this writing prompt:

Write about cleaning out your memorabilia box in the attic. This is the box that holds all the things you would NEVER be able to part with. What is in the box and why have you kept the items?


Send your writing to me (lisa@miamagazine.net) or post it here. We are looking for short pieces to include in Mia, and a compilation of writing prompts would be perfect.

Happy Monday!

7 comments:

  1. It's a big box - filled with memories of his 46-year life. His tee-shirts. His ties. His wallet - stuffed with expired credit cards and an ATM card. There are cuff links, his key club pen from high school minus the back clip. And the original "Mondo Keyhole" - just a spiral notebook filled with stuff high school boys wrote about in the 60s. I read a few entries and laugh out loud. There are Father's Day cards from the boys. Lots of them. "You're the best dad I ever had." There are some notes from a meeting. Bible study discoveries and Sunday School lessons often prepared on Sunday afternoons for the following Sunday. Seeing his handwriting tugs. I swallow hard. Tears well up. I try to choke them back even though I'm home alone.

    I open that box periodically. I'm drawn to it. I touch the pictures, run my fingers along the entire length of his terry cloth bathrobe sash. I lean over and sniff it.. But the essence of him is no longer there. I know it won't be. But I try anyway. That's all I have of him.

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  2. Beautiful, Lina. Thank you.

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  3. Sam’s Box

    Sam’s Box, a cardboard box the size of an old fashioned pencil box, with KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF stamped on the front. It was a box that came from his home at Melville Ave in San Anselmo.
    This box landed up at Sam’s 12 by 18 foot cell at Frank’s studio..The “Keep Your Hands Off” stamp was a new addition to a cardboard box that had held Sam’s treasures since kindergarten.
    It was in his room here at Annie’s house. The room that is his for the trips home between semesters of college in San Diego. Annie found the box cleaning, the familiar hand stamps of Frank’s extensive ink stamp collection on the cheap little card board box. Although it had sat there for five years, she had never looked inside.
    Frantic phone calls from Frank, 1996, that “they” were busy cleaning out the room for Sam that had not been used in over a year and he needed to come and pick up “the rest of his stuff.” Urgent tone, strident voice, harsh reality to Annie’s ear. Now, now and more now.
    Sam, busy with life as a junior in high school, a girlfriend, soccer, working part time and Lavin Basketball Camp. He was not easily available to the whims of his fathers’ demands. Annie at work, Pam looking at her when she took the calls, “Its for you, again... Annie picked up the receiver, “Hello?”
    “Annie its Frank.” I really need Sam to come by and pick up that stuff. Annie, “Of course I have, Frank. He is quite busy and it is the last thing on his mind.”
    Heavy sigh from Frank, and then, “Well he really needs to come up here and pick up the rest of his things from that room so its completely cleaned out.
    Annie, “it can’t be that much, Frank.”
    What could you possibly still have up there?”
    Frank, “Annie, just tell him to call me.” CLICK
    Well, Sam finally did go, and this was what was so urgent for him to pick up:
    The one cardboard box stamped, “KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF.”
    The following is what was inside the box:

    an empty Turquoise Eagle drawing pen holder
    a papergrip dynamite lead pencil
    paperclips
    assortment of broken colored pencils
    two inch sized cube blocks, red and blue
    a round red plastic holder of black and white round erasers from a gum machine
    a Chinese tin fish rattle from Chinatown
    a deck of puzzle cards
    a satin ribbon bow
    a sizzler mint
    a pair of nail clippers
    a silly putty enclosed cork for a handmade eraser with pencil holes
    two tiny lego men
    a few rubber bands

    Frank would never have cared that Sam pick this box up. He would save it for him.
    yet “she” wanted it out of there... Every trace of of Franks past life, complete with wife and a child...Why would such a little reminder have set off her fury for Frank to call Annie repeatedly at work and incite Annie.
    Nothing in that box left a clue about Sam’s emerging self, but it was full of the past. Miniature momentos to Sam as a little boy.
    Patty Wells

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  4. Sam’s Box

    Sam’s Box, a cardboard box the size of an old fashioned pencil box, with KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF stamped on the front. It was a box that came from his home at Melville Ave in San Anselmo.
    This box landed up at Sam’s 12 by 18 foot cell at Frank’s studio..The “Keep Your Hands Off” stamp was a new addition to a cardboard box that had held Sam’s treasures since kindergarten.
    It was in his room here at Annie’s house. The room that is his for the trips home between semesters of college in San Diego. Annie found the box cleaning, the familiar hand stamps of Frank’s extensive ink stamp collection on the cheap little card board box. Although it had sat there for five years, she had never looked inside.
    Frantic phone calls from Frank, 1996, that “they” were busy cleaning out the room for Sam that had not been used in over a year and he needed to come and pick up “the rest of his stuff.” Urgent tone, strident voice, harsh reality to Annie’s ear. Now, now and more now.
    Sam, busy with life as a junior in high school, a girlfriend, soccer, working part time and Lavin Basketball Camp. He was not easily available to the whims of his fathers’ demands. Annie at work, Pam looking at her when she took the calls, “Its for you, again... Annie picked up the receiver, “Hello?”
    “Annie its Frank.” I really need Sam to come by and pick up that stuff. Annie, “Of course I have, Frank. He is quite busy and it is the last thing on his mind.”
    Heavy sigh from Frank, and then, “Well he really needs to come up here and pick up the rest of his things from that room so its completely cleaned out.
    Annie, “it can’t be that much, Frank.”
    What could you possibly still have up there?”
    Frank, “Annie, just tell him to call me.” CLICK
    Well, Sam finally did go, and this was what was so urgent for him to pick up:
    The one cardboard box stamped, “KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF.”
    The following is what was inside the box:

    an empty Turquoise Eagle drawing pen holder
    a papergrip dynamite lead pencil
    paperclips
    assortment of broken colored pencils
    two inch sized cube blocks, red and blue
    a round red plastic holder of black and white round erasers from a gum machine
    a Chinese tin fish rattle from Chinatown
    a deck of puzzle cards
    a satin ribbon bow
    a sizzler mint
    a pair of nail clippers
    a silly putty enclosed cork for a handmade eraser with pencil holes
    two tiny lego men
    a few rubber bands

    Frank would never have cared that Sam pick this box up. He would save it for him.
    yet “she” wanted it out of there... Every trace of of Franks past life, complete with wife and a child...Why would such a little reminder have set off her fury for Frank to call Annie repeatedly at work and incite Annie.
    Nothing in that box left a clue about Sam’s emerging self, but it was full of the past. Miniature momentos to Sam as a little boy.

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  5. What a list! I can picture the box of little boy mementos...and nail clippers! Don't kids always love these? And why? They never use them to clip their nails. Great story. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. The box stares at me.  The lid is worn and tattered and dog eared corners speak of usage filled with both love and hate.  I know it does not have eyes or lips, but it stares and it speaks.  The contents contain memories of life long ago.  Photographs, letters, drawings, notes, clippings and mementos of someone I used to be. A girl lost in friends, fun, parties and mindless flirtation.  A girl longing for more.  I would never choose to go back to that life and the box is a constant reminder.  Though there were momentous highs there was also pain and tears.  Too much pain to count.  And even though I will never go back, I keep the box and occasionally look through it.  I remember that girl and how I left her behind, moving forward into this new life that completely fulfills me.  Without that girl, I would never have made it here.

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  7. We are shaped by the pain of our past. Jessica, this is a reminder that instead of running from it, we can embrace it.

    ReplyDelete