The grey briefcase, I bought for Ray when he left his IT position to enter sales. It now contains our birth certificates, marriage certificate, passports, degrees and diplomas, and a few more death certificates than I would like to imagine. It resides under my bed for a quick getaway. It contains indeed the documents needed to identify who we are and from whence we came.
The red suitcase is one of those large leather valises, very fashionable for its time and probably accompanied by a few matching partners that have since vanished into the ether - It's about a metre and a half long by half a metre wide but deep, about 25 - 3o cm deep and it contains my life. In a moments of nostalgia and self indulgence, I peruse its contents. Very infrequently I might add, perhaps every three or four years but it contains part of me and experiences I've had. It's my time capsule. Even my children are unaware of its contents. Not because they're secret but because it normally resides on the top shelf of my wardrobe and sits there anonymous and unnoticed by those stealing pop-socks or scrounging pillows and spare linen for sleep overs.
In this red case reside:
- A wooden string puppet that I received for my 8th birthday and never mastered.
- My school recorder
- A pair of Pakistani Wedding slippers that my father brought back from the East when it was a land far, far away
- A swag of postcards that he mailed whilst on business trips from India, Hong Kong, Kualar Lumpar, Singapore and other exotic places
- A sari
- Love letters from the man I would have followed to Canada had I not met my husband
- Pressed flowers from a picnic that was particularly romantic
- The decorations from my wedding cake and my wedding veil - the something borrowed that I never returned.
- Delft china liqueur bottles that my Grandpa brought with him when he flew out to my wedding on KLM
- Thai silk that looked so cool in Thailand, I bought bolts of the stuff only to realise that it really didn't look right here
- My children's first pairs of shoes
- The little brown envelope given to me with Ray's belongings after he died - his wedding ring, glasses, gold cross and watch
- A tiny picture of a horse and foal, given to me as a farewell present by Anne Harrison, my best friend when I left England at age 11. I have lost her.
- A Spanish Fan from the Canary Islands which I received as a birthday gift whilst visiting there
- A plastic envelope with Tahitian tourist information - a memento of the most wonderful holiday I ever had before I married - the honeymoon you have before the honeymoon
- My father's tin 'ditty box' with his dog tags and an old five pound note, Uncle Walter's Medal from the first world war and a few other little tidbits that remind me my Dad was once an 18 year old.
- My mother's RSN nurses badge and her nametag. The ward on which she worked just before she was killed is now the "Pamela Dunn Maternity Ward"
- Wedding invitations from people I knew in my youth who are now divorced
- My own wedding and engagement ring
- A litre Stein that I pinched from the Löwenbräu Keller
- A 'winners' patch cut from my darling friend's Track Pants after winning the International Kneeboard Title
- A Manchester United Scarf that I bought during my travels and wore fleeing from an angry Chelsea mob after a game
- Silver charms from Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, England, Jersey which I never had adhered to my charm bracelet
- My Christening Dress (Also ClareBear's, DrummerBoy's, Naughty Neph, Bec and Hannah Bannanah's)
- Numerous coasters from obscure bars where I pashed beautiful boys whose names I never knew
- I'm sure there are other things that I've forgotten - time to re-open Baino's Box