I didn't really expect to find any valuable treasures within, but I'll admit I was a little surprised. It's been a little over two years since the box was packed up, and memory can be a funny thing. Just get my mother and her four siblings together telling family stories and you'll get five different versions of the same event! But I digress. Back to the box.
After cutting the tape and pulling out the crumpled newspaper that was used as a filler, the discoveries began. On top, several magazines, from the 1960s and 70s, in very good condition by the way, especially considering that they would have traveled with me to every duty station while I was in the Navy.
- Kennedy And His Family in Pictures by the editors of Look. No date on the cover but one of the inside pages has a copyright date of 1963. It probably came out the week after his funeral. I was a sophomore in high school. Inside the pages was a "First Day Cover" envelope issued by the post office on May 29, 1964.
- Flying Saucers was another special edition by the editors of Look, copyright 1967.
- Apollo 11: On the Moon was a Look special edition that came out in late 1969. Sunday, July 20th, 1969 10:56:20 P.M. Neil Armstrong declared "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." My youngest brother was graduating from Navy Basic Training at Great Lakes that weekend. Mom, my sister and I were there to visit him and spent some time glued to the television screen in the motel room.
- There is life on the Moon. . . was a publication of Pace magazine in August 1969 and includes essays from Arthur C. Clarke, Wernher von Braun, Ray Bradbury and eight other scientists and science fiction writers. It was billed as a "down-to-earth" look at space.
- Prizewinning Pictures from Life's photography contest was published on December 25, 1970. I was stationed at Norfolk, Virginia and pilfered this copy from the station library, where I was working at the time. I was hoping to get into the Navy's photography school.
Beneath that mess was a sheet of cardboard. At first I thought I had reached the bottom of the box but then realized I'd only gotten halfway down. Lifting the cardboard revealed, what else, but another box! Measuring 9x12 and 4" deep.
I totally do not remember this box! It may have been packed up when we sold the farm house in 1997, but I'm thinking it may have been earlier, back when I quit my job in Fort Wayne in 1986 and put all my belongings in storage for a year. Regardless, these are my treasures, rediscovered!
- My birth certificate, issued in 1969 to prove my age for joining the Navy. Why is it a treasure? It includes my mother's maiden name. Current birth certificates issued by the state of Indiana no longer have that, they just have the mother's first name.
- Several "at a glance" calendars from 1972, 1978, 1979. With sparse notes but enough to jog the old memory about certain events.
- Letters. Letters that I thought had been lost. In a way, I guess they were. Being boxed up for 10 or maybe 20 years. Most appear to be from my time in Japan (May 1977-May 1979) and through school (Indiana State 1979-1982). From family, and from friends long relegated to the back recesses of my mind. I opened several, but they are all going back into the box for now. I'm just not sure I'm ready for the flood of emotions they are bringing back. Long lost, found again. These letters won't be making it into the pages of this blog!
So, there you have it. Are my treasures valuable? Intrinsically, yes. Monetarily, no. But as a family researcher, where does their real value lie?