When I moved to what Americans call America – dismissing the reality of the rest of the continent, plus an entire second continent further south – not knowing if I would be returning, I left two important personal possessions with a Canadian friend for safekeeping.
One of them was a – I have no idea if this is a slur though I can’t imagine it would be – Chinese rug … that had belonged to my paternal grandmother, and two cardboard boxes, stuffed with important memorabilia from my “so far” life.
Years later – I waited that long to see if they decided I was actually a fraud – I paid a belated visit to that friend.
Here’s the story.
During the interim period, I had established myself as a reliable writer for American TV. Subsequently, prior to a family visit to Toronto, I informed Dr. M, of a beautiful heirloom rug I had, stored away in Toronto, asking her if, during the trip, she was interested in checking it out to see if she wanted it transported back home. Which was now L.A. and not T.O.
My inquiry was tentative because, although our tastes in many arenas are similar, in some aesthetic areas they are not. She hates pleats on men’s pants. I think, “What’s wrong with pleats?”
For another example – more active in nature than “Go change those pants!” – when, after marrying, we moved into our new home, one night, returning from work, I pulled into the garage, to find that all the artwork I had purchased as a bachelor was now hanging in the commemorative “Earl Pomerantz ‘Not In MyHouse’ Outdoor Gallery.”
So I was reluctant to mention the rug.
It turned out, after she saw it, she loved it.
Who knew it was a really good rug? I just thought it might cover a floor.
Anyway, my friend who had kept the rug for me – we found it decoratively adorning her living room floor when we came in, my friend, understandably thinking, “It’s been years now. It’s mine!” – anyway, the woman was not happy that, consequent to my spouse’s “signed off” approval, that I was, at this admittedly late date, retrieving the rug, for imminent transfer by from herliving room to ours.
You could tell she was angry. As was her husband, who had subsequently entered the picture and whose connection to the rug was strictly “by marriage.”
“Do you want the two boxes as well?” one of them asked edgily.
Somehow, it seemed to me at that moment – although less so today – that demanding the two boxes on topof the rug would be a heightened inconvenience – when I was, in fact, relieving them of the stored-away clutter of two boxes.
I guess I was nervous for abruptly commandeering my rug. So I said,
“No. You can throw them away.”
And so, we wound up receiving the rug but not the two boxes.
Here’s the thing, though. Which still haunts me, though only when I think about it.
I’ll do this backwards.
In my house, I retain in my possession to this very day…
– An engraved half-pint beer mug, presented to me by The Horse In Groom, London in 1967. (See: A story about that somewhere.)
– I have a small metal bell, hooked to a black, braided stand, bought on a visit to Paris, also in 1967.
– My collection of the annual TV Guide “Preview Editions”, dating back to 1958. (Minus four, which I somehow never procured.)
… among other personal treasures.
If these precious relics from my past made the transition from Toronto to L.A., the proof being I still have them…
What the heck was contained in those two boxes?
I hope not.
But I don’t know.
Paraphrasing the now former president, from a joke, triggering the current monstrosity’s decision to succeed him,
“It’s thoughts like that that keep me awake at night.”
“What’s in the boxes?”
A nagging mystery.
That will never be solved.