Junk or Treasure? by Melissa Rosella

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We were walking home from preschool. It was a sunny day & Hope & James were sitting on the edge of our navy blue Bob stroller. Their legs were dangling over the edge. We walked by an apartment complex. We noticed a dirty, old, & rusty Honda Accord.
A charcoal Honda Accord was Brian’s first car & also the car my father bought me as a college graduation gift in 2000. I always wanted an Accord & thought the two door was super-duper cute. I particularly liked the unique triangular backlights. It had 2 miles on it when I drove it off the lot. I can still smell the brand new tan leather. I drove that car until the wheels almost fell off. I loved it so much and was certain I’d keep it forever. I named her Ruby & she was so good to me & I loved her with my whole heart. She was reliable & predictable & ever-lasting. Her bright cherry red color began to fade as a result of the hot bright AZ. sun. Her paint began to peel, but it didn’t faze me a single bit. As much as I loved her, we needed a bigger vehicle. With Hope on the way, we had to part ways. She’d been so good to me. I cried the day a nice lady came by & bought her from me. I remember her driving away. She drove all those memories away as soon as mu car turned the corner & Ruby could no longer be seen. Maybe it was the symbolism of what it stood for. I’ve always struggled with goodbyes. Endless & beloved memories were made with Ruby. Thankful for her. We had a great 11 year run! Rest In Peace, Ruby!

As mentioned above, we saw an old, dirty, & rusty silver 4 door Honda Accord parked in the hot sun & Hope got inquisitive:

“Mom, what’s wrong with that car?”

“The hot Arizona sun caused the paint to peel off.”

“I don’t like that car.”

“Why not- because the paint is peeling off?”

Yes.

“What if mom’s skin was peeling off, would you still like me? Wouldn’t I still be the same?

Yes.

“Do you think that car still runs?”

Yes.

“So, it still gets the job done, right?”

Yes.

“So if I break a crayon in half & peel all the paper off, does it still color as well?”

Yes.

She starts singing a jingle from Daniel Tiger, “You can change your hair. It doesn’t matter what you wear. You’re… still… you.”

In 2010, the day after I married Brian, my father gave me a gift. The gift was my great-grandmother’s wedding band. Nana passed away at 103 years of age. Her lap was warm and her heart was big. She’s always with me, as she sits in a petite gold-plated frame on my window sill. Oh the places the ring has traveled & the experiences it must have been through all of those years she was married, up until the day she passed away. 103 years of life. I will cherish this eloquent square-shaped dainty ring all the days of my life & probably will gift it to Hope. I wonder all the places the ring must have traveled, all the experiences she went through while wearing the very ring I wear on my own right ring finger. What a wild ride Nana’s ring must have gone on.

I remember my grandfather’s baby blue Oldsmobile. He was the patriarch of our family. He was a doctor. He was a tall and caring and loving man for whom  there are not even close to enough kind words to speak so highly & beautifully of him in the English language. He used to take me to ballet and he let me swing on his tire swing in his pine-wooded backyard. Doc was irreplaceable, one of a kind, a gentle soul, & a sweet-hearted man. He was a huge part of our family. & when he passed away, a part of my father passed away, too. He’s never quite been the same. I don’t think he ever got completely over losing his dad. A family friend desperately needed a vehicle and my parents decided to gift Doc’s baby blue Oldsmobile to her. They were happy to help a friend in need. They are always looking to bless others. & it was all great until this friend completely totaled Doc’s car. She’d been drinking & had gotten into an accident. My parents were devastated. The car reminded them of Doc. Their hearts were broken. I think all of our hearts are still a little broken over Doc’s death. The car symbolized my grandfather and each time they saw the car, it is as if Doc was saying hello. When the car was totaled, it was as if he was gone, for good.

Our navy blue double BOB stroller was purchased off Craigslist for half off. Oh the immeasurable miles we’ve put on that stroller. I wonder how many miles & how many places it had gone pre-Rosella. My beloved silver Highlander is from the used car lot at the Toyota dealership. Oh the places we’ve taken my Highlander- so many  memory making trips to CA., Prescott, Sedona, & Flagstaff. Some of the cutest, most stylish, & most adorable clothes have been gifts passed down by beloved dear friends of mine. After their children grow out of their clothes, we swip & swap. Oh the memories we make in those worn in & itty bitty teeny-weeny clothes.

I was gifted my beloved grandmother Grammy’s forest green jewelry box. It has a multi-colored sea-horse sticker on the front. I’m pretty sure I applied that sticker as a child. The liner is velvet on the inside & it contains a mirror with a small drawer. It is filled with costume jewelry.

I love to pick up each piece and picture Grammy wearing her flashy brooches and bangles & old school dangle earrings that are dated, now. I have fond memories of her wearing shiny rhinestone studded bobby pins & her favorite, the large leaf-shaped purple amethyst pin.

I was not the original person that the box was gifted to. I was chatting with the previous owner, when suddenly she mentioned the green jewelry box being  filled with a bunch of junk. She mentioned wanting to throw the whole box in the garbage can upon discovering the jewels inside held no monetary value whatsoever.  She prefers wearing only real gold, sterling silver, & authentic jewels- none of which were found inside.

With tears in my eyes, I told her I wanted to keep the box. I indicated that I wanted  her to send it to me for the beloved memories of my sweet grandmother, Grammy. The box was invaluable to me. Her trash = My Beloved Treasure.

When the box arrived in the mail, I shared it with Hope. She handled each piece of jewelry as if she were seeing jewels & gems & rhinestones for the very first time. Her eyes widened as she picked up each piece delicately with her small hands &  ran her fingers along each embedded stone. She was in awe.

I gave the box to my father, but I kept one single gold locket. I hope to pass on that gold locket to Hope & tell her all about Grammy. I hope to pass along things to my children that matter, not because of how expensive they are or once were, but because of the special memories each piece carries.

It is not the brand, the shininess, the newness, the sleekness, or the cleanliness that matters the very most, if at all, but it’s the functionality  that matters. & when we are gifted something that used to belong to someone special, may we remember the happiness and memories that were created when that beloved memento was owned, worn, loved, and admired. May we remember our loved ones and the joy they brought into our lives. May we carry on their legacy.

It’s the moments and the smiles and the laughs that matter. It’s the bonds that were created, the happy stories that were told, the traditions that were upheld, & the beautiful memories that were made while wearing: that ring, that brooch, those bangles, those earrings, driving that car, wearing those clothes, or pushing that stroller, that count and matter the very most.

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