The cedar chest sat in the dusty back corner of the crawl space for many years. Nothing in particular brought it to my mind, but after all this time it was unburied, pulled out and set in the light of an eastern window to breathe again. I lovingly wiped off the cobwebs and dust and opened the heavy tapestry-like lid.
One by one I unwrapped the 1996 newspaper from each item. That was the year I left my first life and started my second one. Commemorative glassware from long-ago proms, a family photograph of a now partially intact family, Grandma's figurines, remnants of my multiple craft attempts - needlepoint, cross-stitch, decoupage, my painted wooden plaques. I wound up a music box and it played "My Favorite Things " as I uncovered engraved baby plates for my daughter and my son, and other small mementos I'd made and that had hung in their bedrooms for so long.
I sat in the midst of crumpled newspaper and piles of my old life and wept, overwhelmed at trying to reconcile my two lives with each other. I wept at having no one with which to share these memories. These items, that are without monetary value, I had put away literally and figuratively for far too long.