Word Count: 453
Gone but Not Forgotten
By Sally Madison
The key to the storage unit finally arrived from her mother. Why had Aunt Lydia kept a storage unit in Los Angles? And why would she never have told Mom? As she lifted the overhead door, it squeaked, and cobwebs, dust and stale air drifted out. Lindsey entered the storage unit slowly. It was a time capsule from about the same time that Lindsey was born. Why on earth, would Aunt Lydia have kept this junk, she thought.
The first thing that struck her was the age of the furniture. It was old: a cheap couch, chair, end-table, a dresser, and a single bed. The TV set, box fan and vacuum cleaner were newer, but still as old as Lindsey. On top of the dresser were wine bottles with drip candles, some plastic flowers and a hooded hairdryer. “All junk,” she thought. In the corner were a guitar, ukulele, motorcycle helmet, tennis racket, roller skates, surfboard, 3-speed bike and a tool box. “OK, maybe some of it is salvageable.”
Several boxes were stacked around, also. A box of magazines also held old birthday cards and photo albums, as well as, post cards mixed with business receipts. She glanced in a very large box marked “Kitchen” to find a percolator, toaster oven, dishes, pots and a large dog dish. The boxes marked “Bedroom” and “Bathroom”, she did not open.
In the box marked “Home”, Lindsey found a high school yearbook from 1959 and black and gold pompoms. Also included were a marionette, a Magic 8-Ball, a record player and a stack of 45 rpm records, mostly Elvis. In an old suitcase were clothes: sleeveless blouses, short shorts, sneakers and several baseball caps, all typical for Los Angles.
The flat unmarked box, long enough to hold a small surfboard, was intriguing. She patiently untied the sting on the box and carefully lifted the cover. Tissue paper filled the box. Included was a faded receipt dated the same as the yearbook. With tenderness she opened the layers of tissue. The white satin wedding dress still lay as the dressmaker had laid it.
A jewelry box contained a few pieces of costume jewelry, a black pearl purse and the key to a personal lockbox. In the little gray lockbox, she found a diamond solitaire ring, and bank statements. In an old trunk were college medical books, a dissecting kit, a microscope and a diploma from the Los Angles School of Nursing.
Lindsey had seen pictures, but not until now did she finally understand. Tears welled in her eyes, as she thought, “Aunt Lydia must have agonized each time she wrote the check for the storage unit.” This was Cousin Linda’s storage unit when she left for Vietnam.