Next Project

The “Treasure Box”

Last Summer a series of 20 posts appeared here entitled “Toritto – A Life in Pictures.”

As Clark’s first birthday approached in November I decided to build him a “treasure box” of mementos of his grandfather.  After all, he is only one and I am 75 so there is little real chance I am going to be around for his high school graduation.  And even if I am around I doubt I’ll be lucid!

My grandfather passed on my 12th birthday in 1954; my father was told right in the middle of my party.  While of course, I  “knew” my grandfather I really didn’t.  It would be years until I learned of his trials; having three children with his wife Antonia and then losing her at a young age.

Deciding to go to America.  Courting my grandmother who had to decide if she wanted to marry a man with three children, leave her country, family, friends, culture and language forever for a new life far away.  I know when they were born and when they died.  I knew them as their grandchild.  I am named after him.

But I never got to the details of their lives.  I didn’t yet have the wisdom to ask or care.

Not until I got older and wiser.  Today I would give anything for an hour to talk with them over dinner.  By the time I was wise enough it was too late.  All of the details are long gone as is anyone who could fill in the blanks.

And so I set up a treasure box of memories and things for Clark who maybe someday will be wise enough to want to look for the details.

I put things in it.

The watch his grandmother gave me on the day of my discharge from the Army in 1967.  Fully refurbished and in working order if men still wear watches in the future.

I put in his grandmother’s wedding ring which I gave her in 1963 – in case he would like to give it to a woman he loves.

The ring my parents gave me at my high school graduation.  Relatively inexpensive 10K gold with a tiny chip of diamond and sapphire.  They bought it from David who would sell merchandise on credit at a time when there were no credit cards and poor families couldn’t charge at Macy’s. There is sacrifice in that little 10K ring.  And David introduced me to the 1812 Overture.

I put in the books I have self published into the box.

And I put in pictures  – original photos clearly marked of four of his great-great grand parents, four of his great-grandparents and lots of pics of his grandparents and his mom as a child growing up.  It is time to pass these on before they are lost.

And a letter.  Sealed.  Marked for him when he graduates high school just in case I won’t be there.

And a loose leaf binder.

I copied and printed “My Life in Pictures” – all 20 posts.  I inserted each page front to back in plastic sleeves, some 80 pages of pictures and prose and put them together in a book.  And I put the book with the box.

Age and the awareness of mortality makes one do such things.  We all want to be remembered in some small way, at least by those we love.  He is going where I cannot – into the future and I hope some day he will open these things and smile.  It is pleasant to think of him wearing my watch to his graduation.

Now one might ask why print web pages into a loose leaf binder?  After all, isn’t the ether of the net forever?  Well no it isn’t.  My first poems published on a curated site elsewhere as well as many posts on another are all gone.  The sites went down and that was that.  I lost work I would today like to have.  C’est la vie.

I did have copies on my word processing program but that too disappeared when my old desk top computer died and the documents could not be recovered.

My next project to keep an old man busy is to create another loose leaf  book containing my poetry.  Not that it’s all that great or memorable mind you but I  like to think of Clark someday reading his grandfather’s ramblings and musings.

So I’m going to be posting mostly poetry here for awhile.  Many of these you have already read but you will have to bear with me in a sweet cause.  I will shine them up and make them look like new.  🙂  We are all tired of reading about politics anyway.

After they are re-posted in almost chronological order of being originally written I will print out the page for the book.  I will include an appropriate picture but leave out the music.

We all die twice.  Once when we pass on and once when our name is spoken for the final time.


Thanks Uncle Pete!!

About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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9 Responses to Next Project

  1. beetleypete says:

    I think that’s a wonderful idea, and will have much more meaning than the ‘Keepsake Boxes’ sold commercially. I would love to have been left a legacy like that by one or both of my grandfathers. However, I last saw one of them when I was around five, before he skipped with a younger woman. All I remember was a tall man, wearing a big fedora hat. The second one died when I was (like you) twelve years old. (1964) He was the first dead person I had ever seen, laid out in a coffin in the parlour of his house.
    Clark will treasure that, I’m sure. Not only him, but his parents too.
    I will enjoy reading the poems again. (Glad he liked his bus!)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. macsmarvels says:

    Love the idea! For music, be sure to mention the name of the piece and artist, AKA Duncan McEwan


  3. What a wonderful gift for your grandson!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. zdunno03 says:

    That’s a beautiful thing you are doing: passing on your history. I’m sure he will appreciate knowing you then.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jfwknifton says:

    Very moving. I will definitely send you an invite to my 150th birthday celebrations if you’re still around. Given the advances in knowledge, of course, your little grandson may himself live to be 150.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mukhamani says:

    Wonderful 😊 I am sure he will love it.
    In early 2016, my father-in-law was with us for three weeks, he was 91 then. Every afternoon we used to talk about his early days. I posted them in Facebook in series. Everyone liked to read about the past. I am so glad that I talked to him because he does not remember all that he remembered then. Regards

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jennie says:

    This is a true treasure box, Frank. I would give anything to talk with my grandmother for an hour. Having something like this? Priceless.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I sincerely hope, toritto, that you live quite long enough so that little Clark will never forget you! And this is an extremely brilliant idea to have these mementos for little Clark to have to always associate them with you.

    My dad’s cousin started researching our family tree and she sent me many pictures of dead relatives that I had never seen and when I looked at them, all I could do was cry because I never met my great grandfather. He was dead before I even knew of his existence. But there, on my computer screen was a picture of him. He was Italian. And I never knew that. I just always wondered why there was a part of me that always longed to go overseas and it is because a part of my heritage is over there, in Italy. I hope to someday go there before it is too late. There were many other pictures of relatives I had never seen and unfortunately, like you, my computer crashed and I was not able to get those pictures back, but my dad’s cousin still has the originals. I just need to go back to my hometown, sit down with her and find out all about those people I never knew.

    Little Clark is going to love you always and this I know because you are a truly wonderful, thoughtful, caring, kind and considerate human being. I wish there were millions more like you, toritto!


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