In 1995, my best guess tells me it was November, I visited Toronto for a long weekend. It was not my first trip to Toronto, and I have been back many times since, but the trip is memorable because I went alone. I’d found myself single again (“…. and pushing 40!”) and I was still a couple of years away from meeting the man who would become Harper’s Other Dad.
I’d purchased a ticket to see Sunset Boulevard at the Ford Centre starring Diahann Carroll as Norma and Rex Smith as Joe. I’d even sprung for seat in the Loge. Having recently moved into a new apartment, I thought a tchotchke or two might be in order if something crossed my path. Passing a shop on my way to Art Gallery of Ontario, a wooden box called my name so I brought it home. It has occupied the same spot on my dresser ever since, albeit it in 4 different homes.
For reasons far too prosaic to detail I made the madcap decision yesterday to open that Canadian box. I felt just like Louis Leakey. I didn’t find anything particularly surprising but the currents of time that brought this particular collection of items to settle in the same location intrigue me.
Here’s the inventory:
- A random collection of things one might call “jewelry” were one feeling particularly generous. Most falls into the category usually referred to in Casa de Harper as “cheap Christmas trash” but a couple of pieces have both sentimental and, potentially, monetary value; an antique badge, my grandmother’s watch, and a cameo that was my mother’s.
- Bills and coins totaling 1671 Costa Rican colones. That is $3.13 (US) at current exchange rates.
- Coins totaling $2 Canadian, currently $1.63 (US). I’ll try to remember to take them to Canada next month.
- 1 Dutch guilder. I think that’s about $.51 (US). The Netherlands converted to the Euro in 2002 and exchange rates for legacy currencies are a little confusing.
- $6 in Kennedy half-dollar coins.
- $17 in one-dollar coins, including 5 Susan B Anthony dollars.
Among the decidedly less valuable:
- A faded movie ticket stub for the King of Scotland, 2/18/07 – 5:00 show.
- A broken button
- A picture hanger
- One (only one?) rubber ear piece from headphones
And on the bizarre side:
- A screw that I found among my mother’s cremains. (I choose to believe it was from the coffin.)
- 3 matchbooks. Two are from businesses in New Hampshire. This is odd because I have never been in New Hampshire. The third matchbook is from a leather bar in Toronto called The Black Eagle. That is still somewhat odd, given that I’ve never smoked, but at least it’s a place I’ve actually been.
- 2 Trojan “Twisted Pleasure” condoms, unopened, with an expiration date of March 2009. (I guess I wasn’t the belle of the ball at the Black Eagle.)
I took the opportunity to dispose of the ticket stub, the button, and the antique prophylactics. The matches are stashed in the kitchen in a drawer where I might seek matches at some future time. The ear piece has joined its fellows in a box in the office. The picture hanger has moved to a tin in the garage with more of its kind. At some point I should put the jewelry in one of the other places I have stashed such “treasures” around the house. The American coins should go to the bank, though I want to check whether there might be a premium for the Susan B’s. For now they are all back in the Canadian box.
The guilder and the colones may have found their permanent home. I’ll leave it to posterity to determine the best future for them. Maybe I should just put them in an envelope and mail them to the Treasury Departments of their respective countries as a donation toward their national debts. I should open a few more unexamined boxes and see if I find any stamps.