Small miracles of life: My humble metal boxes
My mom kept our colored pencils in a metal box. It was green with a black lid, decorated with festive kites. It was the logo of one children’s shoes Chilean factory, today closed. Nobody threw the boxes. They were attractive and served multiple purposes. The mothers, aunts, and grandmothers, adored them.
Other widespread metal boxes were those of chocolates and cookies. By then, our family lived in Lota, a mining town in the south. Winters were long, and Summer strolls ended at five o’clock in the afternoon when the chilly coastal wind rose. Invitations to neighborhood birthdays involved carrying a sweater in one hand and a gift in the other. The options were limited. We had to choose among metal boxes filled with chocolates or cookies, bottles of English cologne, homemade embroidered handkerchiefs, and some wooden puzzle, commissioned to the operators of the machine warehouse. These gifts were the same at all parties. Every day there were forgotten sweaters, and the mothers returned them in the next meetings or in one of the numerous events that cheered the life of my town, where the television didn’t come yet.
The time ran
After several changes, like moving to another city, divorce, and my parent’s loss, I still had two metal boxes in my apartment in Santiago. The old green and black box with color pencils and another former chocolate box. The first one had acquired a final vigor thanks to my mother’s grandchildren (my nephews). She drew a lot with them before falling ill. The second one kept coins, medals, buckles, and rare buttons waiting for new use.
In 2008, when I moved to Chesterfield, Virginia, I had to clear the storage. My furniture, books, paintings and other objects would be transported by ship to Norfolk port. In the haste and chaos, the shoe box went straight to the trash. It hurt me to remember that loss! Then, the miracle happened.
On a trip with my «gringo» husband to Chile, we met a young couple by chance. They were watching the sewer construction in the coastal town where we had arrived. They were wandering among the «trenches» and the noisy drills. We invited them to share a cup of coffee. The topic of my metal box arose, and the young man remembered that his grandmother had a similar one. In my country, nobody expects fulfilled promises. For that motive, I was surprised when he knocked on our door and showed me the memorable black and green box, decorated with kites. Everything happens for some reason. Soon after, the young couple ended their relationship, and we did not see them anymore. Now, I have in Virginia these two little metal treasures, which were part of my childhood.
By María del Pilar Clemente
Pamela Muñoz Graphic Designer
Be-Latino Web Site and Social Media