At a glance, it looked like junk. The moment the lid opened, the stench crawled out and invaded the room. The shagged interior cloth lining demonstrated how long it had been since it served a useful purpose.
But I saw more than the trunk itself. I could not help but wonder about the miles it traveled. Somewhere in the 1860’s, my grandmother’s family boarded a boat in Norway. The trunk is the only item that remains from that journey.
During that voyage what belongings were housed inside the pockets now torn with age? What happened during that long adventure across the Atlantic Ocean and down the St. Lawrence Seaway? How many weeks, or even months, did the migration endure? How many miles did they travel before the family chose its new home? Even since then, how many more miles had the trunk traveled?
A barrage of questions mounted as I studied the antique treasure. As much as the satisfaction of wonder continued to trickle through my thoughts, I had to realize none of these questions could possibly be answered.
Too much time had drifted past. No one who made that first voyage was still alive. Even if there were others who may have recognized the trunk, could they recant factual accounts the stories this masterpiece could tell?
Thoughts I could only imagine did not distract me from my admiration this trunk endowed. “Grandma once touched this latch,” I thought to myself as I pictured her hand opening the same clasp. “Her clothes were in here.”
My grandmother died many years ago. But, here, right now, she lived in memories reignited by a treasure she once owned. And now I savor.