Scanning Around With Gene: Boxes of Boxes of Boxes
I'm infamous for collecting junk, even when space at home is at an all-time premium. So you can imagine my sheepish expression when I recently came home with three very large boxes full of empty boxes that I purchased at an estate sale. But these weren't just any old empty boxes! They were clearly the remnants of many years of gift giving to Grandma and Grandpa Whoever. And that made them special. Right? And I had a plan for them: I dreamed of re-using these boxes as containers for new gifts.
However, since whoever saved these boxes had placed smaller boxes inside larger boxes, the total haul ended up being about 60 boxes, most from the 1960s and '70s. That's a lot of re-using.
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Whoever saved these boxes could have easily been my mother or grandmother. Most contained gifts of the desperate sort that children and neighbors buy for older people.
There were many, many candy boxes, including an assortment of red-heart Valentine boxes. These I threw away, as I think it's disrespectful to re-use what I imagine was a romantic gift box. But I did save the square ones or those I didn't think came from a mate.
Second in number were boxes that once contained something that smelled nice: cologne, perfume, soap, talcum powder, etc. Many of these still smell like an old lady. I purchased many of these products for my own mother or grandmothers when I was younger. At least in this case the products had actually been used.
Not all the boxes were from gifts to Grandma. There were also plenty for Grandpa, though I doubt he was the one who saved them. Most men are less sentimental about such things; had he held on to them, the boxes might be in the garage storing nails, nuts, or bolts.
My favorites are those that represent the ultimate desperate gifts. These include an assortment of dates from Mr. Date, a Paul Mason wine and cheese set, a dried-fruit collection, and one for those Italian nougat candies you see in delicatessens.
Gene also found boxes he could picture wrapped under the Christmas tree. To discover what they once held, go to page 2.
There were boxes that contained handkerchiefs, wallets, men's ties, fine and not-so-fine note paper, and quite a few of those flat boxes nylon stockings once came in. I could almost picture these boxes wrapped under the Christmas tree.
I don't know if the recipients of these gifts appreciated them. I mean, does anyone really like eating dates?
When I gave gifts of this sort, most were received with graciousness. But I did have one grandmother who refused to open her presents because, as she so honestly projected, "What's inside can't possibly be as nice as the wrapping."