How often I glance at the ornately carved cedar chest from china. The chest that sailed from Asia to American Northwest and sat in my father’s cabin in Oregon until traveling east to New York City when my mom and dad got married. My first memory of the chest was in the living room of our apartment on Staten Island. It was the magical piece of furniture in the room meant to be looked at and to store extraordinary things. From there, it moved with us to a house not more that a mile from the Verrazano Bridge facing the Narrows across from Brooklyn. There it occupied a position of honor underneath windows facing North and West.
The treasures it held traveled with us. A white, Angora sweater from Italy neated folded in tissue paper, a boomerang from Australia, a doll from Germany, all of which were treated like artifacts in a museum. Occasionally, they were taken out and put on view for all to admire. The story of how my father, an engineer with the Merchant Marines, acquired these treasures on his travels around the world was dutifully retold until I had it memorized. Eventually, the doll came to sit on my bed and the sweater was worm by my sister.
Now, the chest is mine and it sits in a prominent place in the living room of my home on Long Island. It hold different treasures. They, too, are removed occasionally and gazed at and one day they will belong to other family members.