Memories In A Box

After hours of traveling on windy roads and through rolling green hills we finally pulled onto a gravel covered driveway, the tires of the car softly crunching as they pushed their way forward. To our left were rows beautiful tulips every color of the rainbow. To the right was my grandparent’s brown two story house next to a barn and a chicken coop.

This visit was special, my younger brother and I were staying with our grandparents until the stork arrived with our new baby brother. I had just turned 5 a month ago and couldn’t wait to play with a real baby. Grandma and Grandpa were just as excited as we were.

First we looked at the chickens. I couldn’t resist, I had to touch one. I chased one around until it chased me. Grandpa showed us the brown eggs they laid. Then we went inside their house.

I felt like a princess in a castle. I had never lived in such a big house. The first thing I noticed was the stairs, but the most intriguing thing was the little door below. I thought for sure it would lead to a secret passageway. I was aching to slip inside and disappear while no one was looking.

The next day just as the sun began to rise, a loud, “Cock-a-doodle-doo,” called from outside. I lay in bed and listened. It sounded more like, “Er-erer-aroo.” If that rooster’s call wasn’t enough to wake me up, the delicious smell of bacon, eggs and coffee would. As I made my way downstairs, four slices of bread popped out of the toaster. I was impressed — we only had a two slice toaster at home. Grandma served me a heaping plate of eggs, bacon and buttery toast. It was a breakfast fit for a princess.

After breakfast grandma opened the small door under the stairwell that I had been waiting to sneak into. There wasn’t a secret passageway or if there was it was hidden by boxes and old suitcases. Grandma pulled out a brown box full of toys. I picked Mr. Potato Head, a plastic oval in the shape of a potato. It became my favorite toy. I put a nose in its ear, a mustache in its mouth and pushed red lips in the eye socket. It was the funniest thing I had ever seen.    My brother and I played for hours until one day Grandma said we had to leave to see our new baby brother.

Those memories were kept close to my heart. Recently I received a package in the mail. Inside was a Quaker Oats container that must have been at least 30 years old. When I opened it I pulled out a brown, one-eyed Mr. Potato Head. Mr. Potato Head had come to visit me from under the stairwell in the small cubby hole. Suddenly I could hear the gravel softly crunching under the weight of tires on the driveway at my grandparent’s house thousands of miles away. The smell of bacon, eggs and coffee filled my living room. That small door under the stairwell was calling me again and I was a princess elegantly walking up and down the stairs of my grandparent’s castle.

MELISSA LATERZA

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