Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Pirate's Chest

The other day while I was doing major housecleaning, my husband asked me why I was still keeping my youngest grandchild's treasure chest in the guest room. It took me a few moments to reply. Why was I keeping the old wooden chest when my youngest of nine grandchildren was almost in high school?

“It’s not time, yet,” I replied.

“What about the basement and the shed? Don’t you want to give those toys away?” Dan asked.

“It’s not time,” I repeated. Dan shrugged, then walked into the other room. After thirty-five years of marriage, the poor man knows when not to push the envelope.

Why was I keeping the Native American walking stick that my husband had made for each of the grandsons? Why was I keeping their toy swords and bow and arrows in the shed out in the yard? And why in heaven’s name did I keep one of Nathan’s disposable (clean) diapers in my car many, many years after he’d been potty trained?

Was I a hoarder; a toy lady (something like a cat lady)? Okay, the diaper is weird, but something keeps me from tossing the twelve year old pamper in the trash. Maybe I am a hoarder.

I decided to open the treasure chest that belonged to Nathan. The blankets that drape over the chest are authentic Native American blankets that were given to me by my mother and, the hat was from the Lewis and Clark Traveling Exhibit. I was the manager of the Changing Hall when this historical gem visited the Academy of Natural Sciences. It was a gift from my staff.

Inside the chest are all kinds of stones, shells, two smaller chests, and a few books. I remember helping Nathan find the items for his chest. Whenever the boys, Nathan and his two older brothers, slept over my house, Nathan would immediately head for his treasure chest. Whenever we went on a hiking trip, Nathan took a little bit of nature home with him and placed it inside the chest. I put my foot down when he wanted to put worms inside the treasure chest.

I guess I could move the walking stick and treasure chest to the basement with the other toys, but a memory popped into my head. A few weeks ago, Nathan slept over my house. While he was there, the little girl from across the street came to visit. She is six years old, about the age Nathan was when we found the old wooden chest at a yard sale. I’ve been babysitting her since she was three months old. She has a crush on Nathan.

Nathan pulled out the old pirate’s chest and he and Isabella spent the whole afternoon going through all the stuff that Nathan had collected. The two of them spread the contents on my kitchen floor as I prepared dinner.

“Grandmom, do you remember this?” Nathan asked on and off, holding a shell or a stone up for me to see.

As for the toys in the basement and in the shed, this past Christmas Eve when all the grandchildren were over for our big party, all of them from the oldest (27) to the youngest (13) were playing with the toys and laughing their heads off. The boys, one a U.S Marine, were outside shooting the toy bow and arrows and chasing each other with the swords. All of them, now young ladies and young men, laughing like they did when they were so very young.
As I was placing Nathan’s treasures into the Pirate chest, my husband walked back into the room and said, “I guess you can keep this stuff for our great grandkids.”

“Yes, I think I will,” I replied, but after he left the room, I finally knew who I was keeping all the toys for. They were for me. The toys were my three dimensional photo album of my grandbabies; my time machine to the past.

I closed the chest and called Nathan on his cell phone. When he answered, I said, “The weather will be getting cooler, soon. Want to go hiking and look for treasure.” We have a date!


  1. Love this. Similar situation here.

    1. Thank you, Dawn. It's probably a grandmother thing that we share