Elisabeth has been doing some
spring fall cleaning and organizing lately, taking some of her belongings from her childhood home with us to her adult home in Seattle that she now shares with CJ. In the process, she’s also brought a few items back to us that she’s had at her house.
One of the items she returned is my mother’s old train case.
I don’t know if everyone called these small, hard, square suitcases “train cases,” but that’s what my mother called it because it was her constant companion when she travelled both in Germany and in America.
I don’t remember a time when Mom didn’t have this smooth leather box – or when I didn’t want one of my own, with its many silken pockets around the edge (for grown-up cosmetics) and the up-and-down latches that made the sound of leaving.
The sight, the sound, and the feel of Mom’s train case remind me of her wearing her very Jackie Kennedy short-jacket travelling suit with the big red buttons and of her hair ratted just so in the back and sweeping across her forehead in the front.
When I grew up I’d be just like Mom, I decided all over again each time her train case appeared at the foot of her bed, ready to be packed full of magical grown up treasures.
Mom’s train case had been sitting in the middle of the living room floor for days, since Elisabeth returned it earlier this week and I only had time this morning to finally pick it up to put it away among other treasures bequeathed to me by Mom.
As I picked it up, the top fell open as the locks hadn’t been secured, and out fell this:
Dated April 12, 1983, twenty-six years ago and a little over a month before we got married, it’s Tom’s and my engagement announcement in my parents’ town newspaper, the Ashland (Oregon) Tidings.
Talk about grown-up treasures! I had completely forgotten about this announcement. I have no idea why it was in Mom’s train case (or why her train case had been at Elisabeth’s), but when I realized what it was my heart skipped a beat… just like it had for so many years every time my husband-to-be (and husband) walked into the room!
Odd, too, isn’t it, that just a few days after Kat took this black and white photo of us, I find what is probably the only other black & white portrait of us ever taken.