We just returned home from our annual trip back to Ohio. The weekend that we plan on heading back to the land where I was born and raised, where Mr. D. and I met and married, and back to visit where my dad and grandparents are still residing. We went with no definate plans for the weekend other than to spend quality time with family, and hopefully to get some good times in with friends. Mission accomplished! An afternoon and evening spent with my grandparents out to dinner, and the kids got to spend time with their grandparents! Sunday morning we were able to make it to our church that we hadn’t been to in almost 14 years – not since we had moved away, followed by lunch with best friends. Yes, it was a good weekend!!
My favorite part of traveling to the Buckeye state, other than the people of course, sits in a bedroom at my dads house. When I come to visit, he always pulls it out into the living room for me…this huge old green chest – a trunk that once belonged to my grandmother. I remember it as a young girl always holding the most important things of my grandmother’s, and it still does today.
Inside it is full of photo albums, momentos, and family papers that when I first discovered I thought for sure I had my own family version of Ft. Knox! The items my grandmother kept were priceless – not just photos of my immediate family through the years, but she had her mother’s photo collection which went back even another generation. Basically this trunk holds at least 5 generations of momentos!!
This year’s trip brought out a new treasure that I had never seen or read before – a stack of letters that my grandmother had kept. Letters that were written to her by my grandfather when he went into the army before they were married, letters after they had gotten married and she had not yet joined him in Ft. Bliss, TX, and letters that he had written to her from the road when he was driving truck years later.
My grandparents divorced before I was even born, so I didn’t know much of their life from when they were together. The letters that a young man had written prior to going off to war were pure heartfelt emotion that he poured out on paper for the young girl in Indiana. And the young girl in Indiana would write back to him just as soon as she received her letters. Once they were married, the letters eventually stopped, obviously because my grandmother had moved to Texas to be with her new husband. Once he had gone off to war, my grandmother received a new piece of mail. First a brief postcard, followed a few days later by a letter from the Defense Department letting her know that her husband was officially missing in action, and later to be declared a prisoner of war. He was eventually found and rescued, but holding that letter in my hands, I can’t even imagine the horror she must have felt when she first received it.
The treasure chest that sits at my dad’s home is full of history, love stories, and sadness. All stories of my family’s journey.
(This post originally appeared 18 January 2010 at http://apartyo5.blogspot.com/2010/01/treasure-chest.html)