What’s hidden in that massive antique chest in the attic? Is it Grandma’s ivory wedding dress preserved so well through the decades or Aunt Martha’s withered diary with its crinkled yellow pages of juicy secrets?! Is it Mother’s colorful collection of flowery, feathered hats. I simply have to try each one on for size so off I go parading around the house in a make-believe fashion show.

I could simply sit for hours reading from Uncle John’s library of classical tales such as Treasure Island and Tom Sawyer. I fantasize about finding buried jewels and discovering unexplored destinations. Then deeper in the chest, sister Anna’s porcelain doll lays nestled in tissue wrap. Her delicate blonde curls and ornamental face have been protected through the years. Wearing a pink satin dress and a lacy bonnet, she is ready for a sweet little girl to play with.

Oh look, it’s Grandpa’s old navy uniform adorned with medals and ribbons! He was quite the hero fighting for our country. I also come across an old weathered baseball that my father used in hundreds of games. There are pieces from brother Tom’s train set which he often set up running in the attic. I can still hear the beginning steam engine toot and ending with a red caboose salute.

Last but not least, is the memoir that I love best. Hidden at the bottom of the chest is a photograph album. It contains irreplaceable moments in time chronicling the life stages of our family. Happy affairs like holidays and birthdays took place. Milestones such as graduation and retirement were reached.

Years ago, trust and respect were never breached. Youth and innocence were commonplace, and we began every meal with grace. Life was different back then. You knew what your children were doing and where they had been. You found joy in friendship and simplicity. The corruption of power and prosperity did not exist. You were rooted in a familial bond of love and devotion. The family unit was integral to daily existence.

Over time, the memories of our lives will never disintegrate. For the true legacy of our lineage lies hidden in the antique treasure chest.

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Copyright 2008, Amy S. Pacini. All Rights Reserved.
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