The Treasure Room

Years ago my mother made a gift of our baby books and photos of each of us growing up. These were given in small, lockable treasure chests. And as she expected we each reviewed the contents of our treasure chests with a mixture of wonder and delight.

This weekend I have set up what I am calling the Treasure Room.

It is actually the abandoned bedroom of one of my adult children who has recently moved out. What I have moved into it are the remnant treasures my parents collected over their years and that they inherited, in part, from their parents.

We have spent two weekends and two rental trucks depositing stuff into the Treasure Room. I estimate there are easily a quarter of a million more pictures to go through, when you count all the work and scenic photos my Dad was fond of taking.

I likewise estimate it will take me a solid ten years of concentrated effort to go through it all and decide what to archive and what to throw out

Tonight in moving the last of it all off the truck and into the Treasure Room I came across this image in a file box belonging to my grandfather. I have more than 3,000 of his images but I’m not certain I have seen this one:

This is Loris and Zola — siblings to my Grandpa — in 1923, I’m guessing. The photo had their names on the back and I’m just guessing at the date. About two years separated them and Zola may not be quite a year old in this picture.

Weren’t they beautiful children?

If someone out there knows the circumstances behind this photo or perhaps can explain a little more about it, I’d love to hear of it. Please pass it around to other family members if you can.

These past few weeks have been a bit crazy as we’ve rushed to get the storage area that belonged to my father emptied. I have no idea what is in most of those boxes in the Treasure Room. In just the past few days I have seen the will of my great grandparents, Grandpa’s college transcripts, a few surprise images like the one above, and a lot of things made by my Mom that I haven’t seen in years.

My children had not had any kind of connection to this stuff. These busy weekend dealing with the dirt and the loading and unloading have been a chore to them.

But they have done a service and do not know it. These are treasures they will later discover and appreciate when they have children of their own.

My daughter in law came by tonight for a little while to help out. She told me a great story of my 4-year old grandson, Damon.

Damon recently asked his Mommy about his two grandma’s — one with the light hair and one with the dark hair. When Mommy explained that the light haired Grandma was her Mommy Damon was shocked. What ensued was a delightful conversation of discovery. Damon learned that Mommy was once a baby and she had no brothers. Damon couldn’t believe this. But further shocking to him was that his aunts — his very favorite people in all the world — are siblings to his Mommy and his Daddy.

I’m convinced we go through phases of discovery with our own family. For Damon, the family connections are just starting to come together. At other times, we learn of such things when we are much older.

This is the work and the mission of my Treasure Room. That discovery will continue for me through it’s contents.

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