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The zen of reviewing trunk’s contents.

March 5, 2021

March 4, 2021

On this day in 1943, my Uncle Carl Ralph Bonde, Jr., was inducted into the United States Army.  He was 19 years old.

It’s why Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., subtitled Slaughterhouse Five “The Children’s Crusade.”

Today I went through one of the trunks with old pictures, kids’ artwork, photo albums, like that.  Envelopes had stacks of photos, and I didn’t look at them all.  A couple cigar boxes had a stray mitten, assorted junk.  A clamp for … I don’t know what.  Broken glass at the bottom of the trunk, presumably from a framed picture.  I don’ know.  I left it there.

Typical of many couples, we had dozens of photos of our oldest son, Todd, a few of the next, Bob, and a few of our youngest, Clara.  I saw an album with several photos of Clara’s namesake, her great-grandmother Clara McMain.  She was in a nursing home in Lewistown, a victim of diabetes.  Clara had one leg and was nearly blind.  But she had a happy smile, holding Todd in one picture, holding a knitted throw rug in another.  Posing with P. in a third.

We have another trunk, one that belonged to my mother when she went away to college, from Kalispell to Valley City, North Dakota.  That one has much older material from my childhood, even some from hers.  A few of the Household magazine issues with Robert’s short stories.

A wooden box that had once held a cream separator is upstairs, and it had the suitcase from P’s father, some memorabilia from our wedding in 1971, and some stuff from our grade school and high school years, most of it belonging to P.

Downstairs in the basement I’ve got a pile of stuff from my own high school years, including my photo album.  Mother gave me a photo album when I was in the 7th grade, so I scotch taped pictures into it.  Unfortunately, the scotch tape dried out and the pictures came unstuck.  Since then I bought, or found, a packet of adhesive corners for fixing photographs into a picture album, but I never seemed to find the time to use them. Actually. I tried using them but I didn’t have the knack.

Retired people do their families a favor when they comb through the memorabilia. Reminds me of a joke my brother Tom told me once: A man climbed up to a guru high in the mountains. “What is the meaning of life?” he asked. The wise man didn’t hesitate to say: “Life is a fountain.”

That’s it. The seeker after the meaning of life got his answer from the wisest person on the planet. Might as well have been a wise woman. The seeker said, “It is? Really?”

The guru said, “Yes. Isn’t it?”

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