The Memory Box
Today was the day - The Memory Box introduction. Today I was going to Grandad’s house to move all of his belongings. Last month he died due to ill health. He was only seventy. I was travelling in the family car to Grandad’s house. Grandad lived in a semi – detached house on the outskirts of town. We arrived and I walked through the hallway to try to reach my first destination; the attic. When I arrived at the bottom of the stairs I began to trudge quietly up the creaky stairs. Before I knew it I was up the stairs and I turned the door knob and entered the attic. I had decided I was going to start the clear out in the far right hand corner of the room.
I find a cardboard box with decades of cobwebs covered on it. I felt so scared and petrified I could almost faint with fear. This reminded me of the treasure box Grandad use to show me once in a while about what his life use to be like when he was a boy.
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I look inside the box and placed my hand in and pull out one of Grandad’s sports day medals from around the early 1940’s. It smelt like someone had spilled something on it, it reeked of something horrible. The medal was made of gold with a picture of a boy winning the running race. Grandad always was excellent at running. He always use to tell me of his sporting achievements. I feel so proud to have had such a brilliant Grandad. Running was Grandad’s favourite type of sport because he believed that he was a brilliant runner and that he was going to run for the county one day.
Afterwards I find one of Grandad’s old school books from when he was at school. God that was a long time a go! This book had a sticker on it reading: “David Robert Macintosh Maths Mrs Potter”. The book was quite slim with only about fifty pages in it; the pages had squares on to make it easier to write calculations down. I expect Grandad was very proud of having such a lovely teacher and have studied such a wide range of topics in his mathematics lessons. I imagine some moths had eaten their lunch on the book because there were holes in it.
The moths must’ve been busy because they had munched a huge bite mark out of the book. The book was made of leather and I expect was quite expensive in his day. I held the book in my hands; it felt smooth. I opened the book; was so delicate I wished I hadn’t touched it. It was full of topics I or even you wouldn’t dream of studying. In those days you didn’t fuss over the amount of work you had to do you just did it. One of Grandad’s teachers had marked in this book and their handwriting was amazing; looked like they had been writing things ever since they were born!
Then I reached into the box and there was a pair of glasses that I think Grandad told me he wore when he was about seven. The rims and lenses of the glasses were so thick they were like wearing two milk bottles on your eyes! How did Grandad wear these things? Why did he wear them? I would feel so embarrassed if I had to go around school wearing glasses like these ones.
After that, there was a big trophy tucked away in the bottom of the box. The trophy had Grandad’s name initialled on it: David Robert Macintosh. He won it because he had come first three times in the relay at school between 1945 – 1947. He held this title for the next forty years until someone else beat his record with winning the relay a massive five times. Grandad’s father always said he was a good runner: “You little cheetah”. My Grandad was well known in his school for his sport achievements. Every year Grandad use to shout to his mother: “I’ve won again mother”. He will never be forgotten by anybody especially his school friends.
Following, in the box was my Grandad’s old school cap. It was green to match his house at school; green for Clare. This hat was a flat cap. When I felt it I thought how tiny it was. The design of it hadn’t changed since the school first opened. This cap had stayed in the family since Grandad gave it to my Dad about forty years ago. The cap hadn’t changed much it looked the same as it had when Grandad wore it and it smelt like the old classrooms in Grandad’s school with the old fashioned chalk blackboards. Oh how I remember Grandad telling me about the blackboards when his teachers use to fill it three times over with math equations. Then when I came of age Dad gave the cap to me but I outgrew it and it ended up back at Grandad’s. It was like the cap had been in my family forever.
Penultimately I discover some old currency from France. My Grandad must have gone there when he was a young man on a course for work. This currency was franks. It was a five frank note. It was green in colour and was crumpled slightly. The currency had the French king of that time Louis the XIIII. They reminded me of the time when Grandad always use to bring back some presents from his holidays for us grandkids. Once he even brought me back some clogs from Holland. They were tiny! As tiny as a doll’s shoe.
I’ve discovered everything that Grandad thought was worth keeping in this box and I begin to move it downstairs and I suddenly hear a piece of glass crack like when a singer breaks a glass with her high pitch voice! I begin to scurry around in the box and stumble on an old dusty picture. I can just make out that there are three people in the picture; two men and a lady; they look familiar and have similar faces. They were children in this photograph.
My Grandad always told me he used to wear a top hat to formal photograph shoots. In the middle was a man in a top hat and I think it might be Grandad. Grandad had a brother called Sidney. Sidney was also in the photograph. He was always a comical person telling non stop jokes throughout the day. In the photograph Sidney had showed laughter through his face. But, unfortunately for Grandad he also had a sister who’s name was Beatrice. She was a very serious person, in fact the exact opposite of Sidney. She never paid much attention to Sidney when he told hilarious jokes at the dinner table. He was hilariously funny; she was stubborn and serious.
In the photograph Sidney wore a black suit with matching coloured socks and shoes. Beatrice wore a floral dress; all three children looked very smart. This photograph must’ve been taken over fifty years ago by my Great Grandma Adeline because it was in Black and white. You could just see certain important details. This photograph reminded me of when I was a child and my mum took a photograph of my sister Molly, my brother Will and myself by the heath in the living room. Oh how I loved having my photograph taken.
Underneath the photograph was a letter my Grandad that he had written to his mother thanking her for taking him, Molly and Sidney on holiday for the weekend. They had gone to one of Grandad’s favourite holiday destinations Blackpool. He loved Blackpool because of its huge pier beach, and sights. They had wanted to go to Blackpool to look at its attractions. Grandad’s favourite was Blackpool pier because of size and features such as the beautiful iron work. Molly loved the beach and the sea because she could go bathing and go into the sea. Sidney and Grandad always went crabbing, sailing or even surfing! They loved crabbing because it was so interesting discovering what different types of creatures lived in the rock pools.
Grandad and Sidney use to catch a wide range of specimens in Blackpool rock pools: crabs from North Beach; Starfish from eats Beach; Seaweed from South Beach and sea urchins form West Beach. Sidney and Grandad always use to show their mother and father their catch of the day (after they’d gone fishing.) “Look Mother and Father we’ve caught all the sea creatures in Blackpool!” When it was raining my Grandad was treated to a movie. The family would go out and go to Blackpool Odeon. This letter reminded me of when my mum and dad took me to Tenby and we spent a few days at the local beach.
I never did have time to finish my huge clear out and before I knew it it was time to go for tea, maybe I will have to come back tomorrow. I wonder if tomorrow will be as interesting as today was…..
I will never forget Grandad. He always was a brilliant man. He will never be forgotten by anyone especially his family and closest friends of whom was a lady called Jilly Greed who went to school with Grandad many years ago. Why did my Grandad have to pass away so suddenly?