“So I got this box from my parents the other day...”“Oh dear Lord, not “the box”...” my friend RJ shuddered “psychically” on the phone before I’d even begun to explain anything. (What can I tell you, we’ve known each other since kindergarten and we both know our families all too well.) “I got “the box”, well, actually three of them a few years ago from my parents, and I kinda wished I’d never opened them” he added. “Did you already open yours?” he winced.
Honestly, I don’t know if this is strictly an American tradition, or perhaps just a Midwest curse upon children who grow up and move away, or if this is a worldwide phenomenon. But where I come from, there exists an apparently unspoken parental rite of passage; an inexplicable day, month or year, when those that have labored, nurtured and sacrificed for the care of their young, purge the guano of the bat colony’s pups out of the cave for good.Having left a precious golden chest (I kid you not!) of treasures from my childhood, high school and college years in my parent’s Fortress (again, I kid you not); apparently my time capsule of memorabilia had reached its expiration date.
And so my parents shipped me my schist.
Chronologically out of order, I next stumbled upon a few items from my years at the University; including some sentimental items of clothing, as well as my glitter-bedazzled mortarboard (graduation tassel still attached), which my Mom had blissfully contained in its own plastic baggie. (Uck... GLITTER! One tiny nostalgic peek inside the bag, and I wound up with about five specks of gold mocking me on the carpet, which having travelled across the US, had now begun to nomadically multiply and maneuver their way throughout my entire apartment. (Sure I can run a vacuum over those glistening dots a gazillion times, flick them around easily with my pinkie and vacuum again, but they WON’T GO AWAY.)
Nevertheless!Delving into the bottom of my Pandora’s Box, I smiled fondly at some High School items which I hadn’t seen in decades; and looking forward to all the sentimental goo attached to those formative years, I actually gasped at the Evil horrors which I had unwittingly released...
Rummaging through a Senior Album of sorts, I excavated what must’ve been an envelope of fifty or so class pictures of my schoolmates from the 80’s – all with embarrassingly gigantic Aqua Net hair-sprayed bangs in the photos, coupled with optimistic swirly handwriting on the back; most of which were emblazoned with the same sentiment over and over of “don’t ever change!” (Dear GOD, what were we THINKING?)Now, from a purely archeological pondering over the unfortunate documentation of our desired “look” back in the day, I couldn’t help but wonder: A.) Was there a time in the Pleistocene period of Neanderthals when their children looked up at the cave paintings of their parents and grunted an “Ooogh” with embarrassment that the elders felt comfortable mixing and matching so many clashing animal prints? B.) Exactly how much of the earth’s ozone did my classmates and I destroy with all of that aerosol in order to try to look like Farrah Fawcett? C.) Will the offspring of today’s youth look back at Grandpa’s Facebook page forty years from now and wonder why Gramps’ plaid boxers rode so much higher than his pants, as well as how could Grandpa even sit down when his designer back hip pockets were drooping behind his knees?
But I digress!Mining further into the pre-printed album which provided fill-in spaces for our answers to such penetrating questions as “favorite teacher”, “favorite class” and “favorite part about being a senior”, I was mortified by the majority of my responses.
The shards of history glared at me – the snot-nosed, self-entitled, demonic teenage rebellious ramblings of a smart-assed brat who thought she knew absolutely everything there was to know in the world at the tender age of 18. Good Lord, how on earth did my parents ever put up with me? (Seriously -- if I were them, I would’ve saved myself the drama and devoured my young.) No wonder they wanted to get rid of my schist!(Side Note: As I so often share my dreams on this blog – nocturnal and/or realized – I must say that I thrashed uncomfortably in my sleep that night, as I found myself being bullied by modern day teenaged girls with iPhones who mocked me relentlessly whilst we were stuck in a trapped elevator of a high rise building.)
(Yeah, don’t really need an interpretative book to dissect that one.)
However!My archeological dig into Pandora’s Box, did proffer some long lost treasures:
Disbanding the final sacred burial tomb (actually it was a Christmas tin with two rubber bands around it), I delicately parted the Shroud of Turin (or, you know, my Mom used a towel) and stared wide-eyed at the trove before me...Could it be? Were there really ninety or so Pirate “pieces of 80’s”?
In perhaps my most spectacular dig into the past (lava glass rocks and fossils notwithstanding), I’d recovered promotional buttons from my favorite 1980’s musical bands!There were Adam and the Ants! There was Loverboy! There were the Police! There was Bow Wow Wow! There was even Van Halen (prior to the Sammy Hagar years)!
Yes my friends, I have in my possession, the VERY FIRST MTV Birthday cake pin with a one year candle on it! (Believe it or not children, they used to actually ONLY show music videos on that channel! (The button is dead center if you can see it above.)) And to this day, I’ll never forget the very first MTV premiere of The Buggles performing “Video Killed the Radio Star" – the unsung heroes who I believe innocently launched what has now evolved into the universal phenomenon known as You Tube.
After spending some time with Pandora’s Box, I think I’ve begun to make peace with my past, present and future. (Although I must say, I’m STILL experiencing lucid dreams which take place in the house where I grew up.)But at least I now fully understand my compulsion to occasionally spend a few bucks on a piece of jewelry as long as the rocks catch my eye. My inner youthful Geologist deserves to be nurtured and respected for the vast advances she achieved as a child. (That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!)
In reverence to my High School years, I pulled out an iTunes gift card that had been gathering dust in a drawer since a television Director gave it to me awhile back; and sorting through the catalogue of available songs online, I now possess a small library of tracks which hurtle my pea brain twenty years back into the punk rock/post-punk era should I ever feel nostalgic for the days when I hadn’t a care in the world that was bigger than my hair.And as to the University which provided some structure towards my “glistening” future, I’m bravely embracing the new world and all of its shining opportunities. After all, I’ve made it all the way to Tinsel Town! And despite a temporary slump this year in gainful employment, my hopes remain high for crawling in on the ground floor of any potentially highly rated successful sit-com later in the fall season.
Now, if I could just excavate the brain of the snot-nosed know-it-all brat from my past that once was me, perhaps I could learn how to download iTunes music from my computer to my Kindle Fire (Ooogh!), and figure out how to recover a picture lost in the cavernous depths of my cell phone!Wishing you all a box full of joy,