It’s official! Thanksgiving Day is past and now we may begin to think and plan for the approaching Christmas Day. For me, Christmas planning begins after Thanksgiving Day and, always, with that planning comes memories of past Christmases. Although I have many wonderful memories, I want to share one in particular. Before I do that, I must tell you about a special “like” of mine. This all leads up to that memory.
I love boxes, all sizes and all shapes, but generally small enough to sit up off the floor. I know I am not the only woman that enjoys boxes, in fact there appears to be a box craze underway with stores featuring boxes of all shapes and
sizes. These cardboard boxes range in size from those large enough for hats to those made to hold a ring. I have one that sits on the floor next to the piano and is filled with music, another one, made somewhat like a traveling trunk with hinges, is wooden but covered with decorative paper and serves as a table for our phone, and holds DVD’s
Some of my boxes are old, one for gloves, another for handkerchiefs. Years ago, my friend, Jean, was going to a benefit auction and wondered what she could bid on for me. “A box, look for an interesting old box,” I said. She found one, a small, pearl-inlaid box, with some of its veneer missing, so is it’s key. The inside is lined with blue paper and someone had put fabric on its bottom, most of it now missing. Two, much-to-large nails were used and hammered into the bottom, creating a small split. Surely it is not very valuable, but it represents many memories and at one time may have been another woman’s treasure.
Are you aware that there are men recognized today for their work of building boxes? Phil
Weber specializes in ebony boxes, Matthew Burt, both boxes and furniture, and many have set under the tutelage of the late Alan Peters. I do not have boxes made by them but I do by my husband, who is much appreciated for his woodworking projects. Being his wife, I am one of his greatest fans and he has built me a number of boxes, just the perfect size for jewelry, trinkets and treasures. One of them is inlaid with leather which he tooled, and it has a music box inside. Another is rather unique in how it features two contrasting woods, he etched a design into the glass lid of another, and the latest one features a music box mechanism that can be viewed through its glass top. These boxes I treasure. By now, you undoubtedly are getting the idea that the Christmas gift I began telling you about at the beginning of this Shirl and You is a box…. and you are right!
Some of you may remember when orange crates were available and were brought home
after a trip to the grocery store or a fruit wholesaler. When my four sons were young an orange crate provided them with many creative hours of woodworking. The center board could be removed and with wheels attached, the crate became the body for a go-cart. One of these, to this day, serves as a pedestal on which a wooden top was built and a three-way mirror erected, a skirt is attached to the top to make a dressing table. The crate remains underneath the skirt. With some sanding and painting the tell-tale origin of the wood can be kept a secret. Today, oranges are not shipped in these crates. Gone are the days when the orange crate is easily obtained. However, the colorful labels that decorated these boxes are now collectibles. Today, a person may easily find cigar boxes, but that is a whole different story.
Now it is time to reveal that special memory. It comes to mind each time I pick up a hand-made box, lovingly constructed for me by my son, Bryan. He and his three
brothers often spent time in the cellar building things from orange crates. He was about ten years old at the time. He hinged the lid of the box and attached a lion head pull. He painted the box green and then attempted to cover the crate lettering, on its interior , with white paint. But that wasn’t all, he hand decorated a Christmas card. The complete project shows Bryan’s artistic ability, one he has to this day. He recently said, “ I always thought those lion pulls were very special and so I used one on a box I built for a very special mom.”
Below are some photos of the boxes I talk about here. Perhaps these will bring back memories that you will share with Shirl and You.