Three Little Boxes


Everything we accumulated over the first thirty years of our lives has been reduced to 3 small boxes containing photos, a few books, two childhood toys, my wedding dress, some jewelry, artworks, and writings. All of the furniture and other household goods we stored when we left America have been given away. Soon these boxes will join us in Tokyo with all of our current possessions. One integrated household is on the horizon.

The "move" from storage went smoother than expected, because the moving guys (one of whom had moved us 9 years ago) saved us the hassle of taking the things to Goodwill ourselves. They have their own donation system and were happy to keep the things we didn't want. So I stood in the truck and pointed at furniture. King sized box spring and mattress - you can have it. Desk, bar stools, dining table, chairs, cabinet, armchair, ottoman, bookshelves, shopvac - take them. Most of the big things didn't even have to come off the truck.

We managed to sort through the dozen or so boxes pretty quickly and packed our photos and bits up into new boxes for shipping. Everything we didn't want, we took to Goodwill with Tod's mom driving the truck that the self-storage place loaned us for the afternoon. Tod's cousin, Goldie, lent a hand, too, running errands and hauling trash to the dumpster under surveillance. People were so kind to us. Moving day would have been a lot more hassle and expense without their generosity.

But there was one heartbreaking moment. When I opened the trunk where I had packed the silver coffee service that had been given to me by my grandmother, it was gone. The trunk was empty except for some sewing things. I stood there in shock. Then I felt guilty for having lost the family heirlooms on my watch. I cried later. But really, what can you do? It is gone. An insurance claim or lawsuit might cover some of the monetary value, but that isn't its real value to me. My mother tells me to not to worry about it, "It's just things. Forget it, it doesn't matter." She is right, but I still feel guilty and sad.

There were a few other things missing - some semi-precious jewelry and the crystal ball Tod gave me as a wedding gift. At least I have the memories of them. And considering the size of our Tokyo apartment, it is a good thing we don't have a huge attachment to more things.

Goodbye, stuff. I hope you find happiness in new homes.


Aw, I'm sorry to hear that. :( Glad you're keeping your chin up, though. Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving! (Or, alternatively, a happy Thursday.)

My grandma lived in Melbourne, the other side of Australia from the Perth side of the family. When she died, I remember keeping from her apartment: a print of two blue orchids, copies of A Brave New World & The Lord of the Rings, and a half-finished crossword puzzle from the daily paper.

I also lugged a small writing desk around Melbourne for a few months, it ended up living at the house of my brother's friend. Eventually, I went home, with no practical way of ever getting a desk from Melbourne to Perth, so there it stayed.

Well, times changed for my friend too, who moved on and out, so I have no idea where that desk is now. A fair number of years have passed now, so I don't wonder so much where it ended up. I think 'Things I Had' would be an interesting website, therapeutic maybe.

sorry to hear about your heirlooms! terrible thing.

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  • mandi: sorry to hear about your heirlooms! terrible thing. read more
  • John: My grandma lived in Melbourne, the other side of Australia read more
  • Julia: Aw, I'm sorry to hear that. :( Glad you're keeping read more