What’s in the box? Episode 1

This was a happy day before all hell broke loose.  It was around Halloween, as evidenced by my orange cup.

This was a happy day before all hell broke loose. It was around Halloween, and I remember this orange cup was the cafeteria’s way of celebrating.

I found some old pictures and this particular one brought back a ton of memories. My baby, my youngest, once told me about keeping a memory box. I loved the idea but wasn’t so good at it, and my memory box ended up hidden away for 25 years. This box is no time capsule, mostly filled with concert ticket stubs, and a lot of “what did I save THIS for?  Let’s dive in!

The first picture was taken around ’79 for my book jacket. Yes, just as I took a picture for my blog before I had one, I had a picture taken for my book before I had one. I fancied myself a writer. So fancy, that I took this photo meant for the back of my book.

I gleefully showed my parents my first publicity shot. Bernice sucked on her can of Tab and stroked her white, deaf cat.
“ Would it kill you to wear a bra?”
No one was questioning my career choice, but everyone was entitled to their opinion on my underthings or lack thereof. It was the turn of the decade, two of my classes were women’s studies, too many layers seemed downright un-American.

I want to be sure I am clear about the vanity involved here, my photographer friend took this picture specifically for my book jacket, although I never wore a skirt I put one on for this photo. We were in beautiful sunny St. Petersburg Florida and it didn’t even occur to me to go outdoors. I had yet to learn about the benefits of natural light but I knew the benefits of air-conditioning.

I was 30 pages into my book. I would only make it to page 33 but on the day that this picture was taken I didn’t yet know that my grandfather would die in a few days, and I was in no way prepared for the toll it would take on me, and my family, physically, academically, really in all areas of life.

The picture brings back details that I am sure are evident because it was in hiding for so long. I can feel the texture of my top in my hands, a fine terry like fabric with intricate little loops.I took the advice to “wear something neutral” ultra seriously. Once in a while over the years I would wonder “whatever happened to the paisley skirt?” It was a satiny one-size-fits all wrap-around that I would later wear through two pregnancies during that stage where nothing fits, but you aren’t ready to face maternity fashion.

I feel the salty breeze coming through the windows when I see the photo. In the background: a print that was popular in the day, the hand giving a daisy to a hand thing. That reminds me that the picture was not taken in my room, and I wonder whose room it was.

You would think I would hate this picture for some of the memories it provides but mostly I remember my friend taking it, at a time when we both believed anything was possible.

Stay tuned for some other scenes from inside the box.

4 thoughts on “What’s in the box? Episode 1

    • Thanks! I do love the vintage glasses coming back around, but not the weight of them on my nose! I have quite literally not looked through the box because the top couple of things interested me, they may be the only interesting things in there or perhaps I will find some delightful inspiration. Thee ARE a lot of those little cards that you get at funerals, because it always felt wrong to me to throw them out.


  1. Wow, Jaye, I love this trip to the past. Even down to the fabric of the top (I keep remembering “poor boy” tops in my writing–do you remember those ribbed knit things?) and the picture on the wall (do you remember the one of the brown haired girl holding a shell to her ear and all you can see is her hair and long neck?). Those glasses are great! And I love the pose and your confidence in your book. You look so focused and yet carefree–what a sign of the times!!!


    • Ahh Luanne thanks for this and hugs too.

      I did not wear the ribbed knits as I have never liked feeling my clothes close to me (think “Caftan”). I think I do remember the picture with the shell, I came across it while looking for the fist full of flowers. There were about eighth pictures that went together me thinks?
      On another subject, read this book immediately: http://www.amazon.com/Box-Darkness-The-Story-Marriage-ebook/dp/B004477WMO I read it on vaca and all the while I was thinking that you would enjoy it.
      The glasses will be even better next post!


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