Last week, I received a Panic Call from the Admissions Office of the University. They had requested my transcripts from the high school I graduated from but had yet to receive them.
I imagine that someone from my school was still wandering through the catacombs to find this ancient document and had yet to return from their dark and dusty search.
I was asked if I had ANYTHING that would prove I was a high school graduate. They would be able to accept a copy of my high school diploma until the transcripts arrived.
“Well, I doubt that after forty five years that I still have my diploma on hand, but I guess I could check ‘The Box.'”
“What box?” the admissions director asked.
With a sigh, I said, “You don’t want to know. I’ll get back to you.”
I have kept up the family tradition, passed down by generations of McMahon’s, of owning a Family Box. It’s cardboard and dwells in my closet along with unused shoes and the Christmas decorations.
What’s in it? It’s filled with photos and family memorabilia that never made it to the Family albums, never earned a place of honor on the wall and usually, it’s hard to identify where the contents came from.
Many times over the years, I would stare at the box and swear to go through it and put the photos in albums. Never happens. When the contents threaten to overflow, I just go out and get a bigger box.
A search through “The Box” normally involves spending countless hours staring at dead relatives, places I can’t identify or people who have escaped into the dark recesses of my memory; their names just on the tip of my tongue but never remembered. The box holds the memories but doesn’t always share it’s secrets!
A lot of hours are spent looking at pictures at a younger version of my parents, my siblings and yours truly and of course, my own little darlings. I’ll shake my head when I come across pictures of ex-husbands and reach out to throw them out, but never manage to do so. They were a part of my life, albeit an unpleasant part, and they had earned their place in “The Box.”
I think the only thing that I ever managed to take out of the box and discard was the flower I so carefully wrapped in cellophane from the wrist corsage I wore to my Senior Prom. It had turned into a dangerous looking fungus and turned out to be the source of that funky smell I noticed each time I approached “The Box.”
Having to spend a day or two searching through the box was not what struck fear into my heart. I knew if my box failed to turn up the elusive diploma, it just might be in my deceased sister’s collection which I inherited when she passed.
She didn’t have a box like mine, she was a more prolific family historian. Her collection is stored in two suitcases and three garbage bags.
Of course, my mother who is still alive and kicking (bless her heart) has a box. That box resides in the state of Washington, where my mom now lives, and there is no way I’m jumping a plane to look for my diploma.
After the Admissions departments phone call, I did the next best thing than to having to go to “The Box.” I called the high school and begged the woman who answered to help me out. She took pity on me when I explained about “The Box” and faxed a copy of my transcripts to the University.
Whew, it was a narrow escape! Now I can rest easy and get back to my studies. I did make a note to buy a bigger box…after all, I’ll need room for all of those Christmas pictures I’ll be taking!
If my daughter is reading this, and giggling over my dilemma, she should be forewarned. When I go, honey, you get “The Box.” Tee hee!