Saturday, 4 February 2012

The Box by Wayne Smith

The Box
Feb 4th 2012

Audio Recording:  Read by Wayne Smith

I saw the box only a  few times in my lifetime. Mother would be carrying it, tears in her eyes.
My mother  passed away recently and I asked my Dad if I could have the box. He said:
"Take it."
I was delighted; the box looked old yet well preserved. 
I opened the brass latch, lifted back the brown leather lid.  Inside I found old family
photos and my grandmother’s saved letters home from her lost son Roy while he was here in Canada training to be a British Lancaster bomber pilot.
Near the end of the Second World War, Roy’s plane was shot down over Nuremberg, Germany. His body was never found.
My grandmother hoped he had been taken prisoner and would return home once the War was over.  She waited many long months, in vain.  I believe she wrote letters in search of her lost son.
It is that loving grandmother’s search that makes me feel, and the memory of my own mother’s pain whenever I saw her with the box, that is a reflection of that painful search.
Roy’s letters home are the hopes and dreams of a  twenty year old British lad. In them he asks if his mom could send him clean pajamas.  Or he is telling her the only girls the army could find for them at the airmen’s dance were all thirty years of age or older.
"Oh, Mum—I had to dance with thirty year olds, I will never live it down."
Ironically, he never did.
Today I hold the box as a treasure of love and hope, held for so many years by my grandmother, my mother, and now by me.  I hope to add the gift of a story to that box, passing the box on one day to someone who holds a memory precious.

Thanks, Mom.

(c)2012 Wayne Smith


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