Time In A Box (ms)

I have managed to trap and keep time in a box. It is but a plain brown shipping box that once held something about the size of a pair of shoes. I keep it in my desk drawer so no one else looks at it very much but every so often, I do.

It is a box of pictures dated back to the time of my grandparents and it may be exactly what you have lying around in a cupboard or on a shelf somewhere in your own home. I knew all the people pictured, many of them are passed on but in their time I knew them. What’s more I’ve taken the attitude that the contents of that box were in a way devices to tell the future for the truth is all the people on the tiny mostly black and white squares are me.

I thought this all out as I dug through the collection looking for a picture of my dad. With Father’s Day near it seemed like a good time to reminisce a little. He died twenty-five years ago but in the photos I have he has never aged and I felt it would be good to see him like that again, just for old times sake.

The photos are in no particular order but they go back decades and at a certain point kids begin to show up in them. One that stands out in particular is a group shot of my parents, all my aunts and uncles taken post World War Two. I am there as are most of my cousins; we’re small and bundled against the cold, hardly recognizable given the distance of the camera from the subjects but I know everyone. In that photo, taken in the nineteen forties, is the present and the future for we would become them, or close.

It was the older people who put down the laws all of us kids followed. It was they who taught us the difference between right and wrong, that honesty was always the best policy, that hard work beat slacking hands down, that if you tried hard enough you could become anything you wanted. They made us eat our vegetables, clean up after ourselves, do our homework, brush our teeth, say mister or misses when addressing an elder and if it were a stranger, sir or ma’am was appropriate. The two most important lessons: the use of the words please and thank you.

In doing this out of classroom teaching, these lessons of life and living, my parents, my aunts and uncles were simply passing on what they had been taught in their younger years. They were passing along their own traits, practices and manners and in so doing made us more or less in their likeness. So you see what I mean when I say that single photo gave a look at the future as well as the present, circa the forties. All us kids followed in their footsteps and did okay I suppose even though we had some mighty big shoes to fill.

–Mike Stevens

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~ by admin on June 15, 2011.

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