A very old steamer trunk followed me home. It belonged to my paternal grandmother and quite possibly to her mother. My father remembers it as always being at the top of the stairs at the Riverside house when he was a child. It had stuff in it.
From the moment the building of the cozy cabin was announced my sister has been trying to unload the old and dusty steamer trunk on me. I always refused until now.
She had come into possession of the trunk by buying the house we grew up in. I remember it in the house when I was a kid. We kept stuff in it. As long as that house was in the family, things got abandoned there. People moved on more than they ever officially moved out.
The trunk moved with her when she bought another house on the other side of town. I wonder what else she found when that house was emptied and finally abandoned. She used the old steamer trunk as a coffee table in the new house for a while. Then it was placed in the foyer and used to keep stuff in.
I don’t know why she got tired of it and I don’t know why I finally said yes to taking it, except it looked like I could keep stuff in it and the cozy cabin is lacking in closets big time.
This trunk is old. The painted linen on the outside is scratched, faded and wearing thin. The wood slats are marred in multiple ways. The metal straps are rusty. White paint was dripped across it at some point in time. The lock is keyless. The linen lining the interior of the trunk is halfway home to dust. It is in dire need of restoration.
The old steamer trunk also came with a nice collection of dust bunnies, spider webs, hairballs and tiny bits of flotsam from multiple users. It had sat undisturbed in a corner of the entry hall for some time, a staging ground for stuff inside and on top.
The trunk was not going to enter my somewhat pristine new home without a good rub down. A hard dusting led to the vacuum. Looking close I saw dust balls wedged in the cracks between metal and wood. The top edges of the wood slats looked to have a centuries worth of dust embedded in the grain. I think it will need a real bath before it can be restored.
One more year has piled on top of all the years that came before. I don’t have much desire to rehash the newly finished year. It is like so much stuff inside an old steamer trunk left to gather dust.
Almost unknowingly our trunks get full and they get old. Every so often, by circumstance, by choice or the pressing passage of time, the trunk gets emptied. Maybe it even gets cleaned. Stuff is scattered to the winds and we can begin anew, freed from the past. Or so we think.
The old steamer trunk follows us home. It is home. It is me. I fill it back up with new stuff hoping for the best, but the past is never fully cleansed. It lingers in cracks and crevices, in the dust lacquered by tears and fog and time into the very grain of the wood.
That old trunk is in dire need of restoration.
The old steamer trunk is empty now. It has had a good scrubbing. The restoration is underway. When fully cleaned and with new paint, new fabric, new stain and looking kind of new – it is an old trunk and only getting older – it will be time to greet the new day and the new year. Then I can put new stuff in it.