MY LIFE – What’s in drawer No. 7?

MY LIFE – What’s in drawer No. 7?

Last week I told you about my semainaire (aka a seven-drawer lingerie chest in case you missed last week’s column) and how my search for space in which to store my woolen socks turned into something of an archaeological dig as I sorted through the two bottom drawers, neither of which had even been opened in at least 20 years.

Drawer No. 6 contained among other things a heavily boned instrument of torture called a backless strapless bra, a small assortment of silky lace-trimmed camisoles, and a purely utilitarian, never-used pair of snuggies (pink rib-knit cotton winterwear that are essentially above the knee longjohns for ladies that have become all but obsolete ... the snuggies, not the ladies ... and which I couldn’t resist buying when I happened upon them many years ago).

Drawer No. 6 has been summarily emptied of its contents and promptly refilled with woolen socks. But with a large pile of socks still in need of shelter (I would be embarrassed to tell you how many pairs of hand-knit socks I own), I proceeded on to drawer No. 7.

The first thing spotted looked like a fairly expensive macrame plant hanger that I assume I must have received as a gift back in the macrame-popular era either as a re-gift from someone who felt compelled to give me something or perhaps bought new by someone who didn’t know me well enough to realize that I “don’t do” plants, hanging or otherwise.

The next layer in the dig consisted of four journals.

Let me explain here that for years, beginning somewhere in the early 1960s when my children were very young and with no other outlet for my compulsive need to write, I kept journals into which I spilled my rambling thoughts, much as I do here with my column, albeit a lot more unfiltered. Every so often I stumble upon them, scattered as they are in odd places like storage boxes, a shelf in the basement, the bookcase nestled in among real books, and in bureau drawers full of miscellaneous items that might be seen as junk. When this happens, I think I should just go ahead and destroy them since I’m not sure I want anyone being privy to my painfully honest thoughts expressed during emotionally difficult periods of my life, but I have obviously resisted ... so far.

The journals found in drawer No. 7 were most likely the last ones ever written, with the exception of “Reflections From A Mother’s Heart,” one of those pretty pastel journals that contain a prompt at the top of each page meant to elicit a memory that will later be given to one’s child, and to which I may still add to.

The first journal, dated from June 1988 to September 1992, is titled “A new chapter in my life,” begun just prior to moving out on my own.

The second one, from October 1992 to April 1994, has a photo of my father, in front of the page where I talk about the day he died. Also tucked in there willy-nilly is a crumbling drawing of the Pink Panther done and signed by my son Rick in the 1970s.

Journal No. 3, April 1994 to December 1998, has a valentine from my older grandson Nick, dated “2/95” and “cut out by himself,” and a photo of my granddaughter Shana at 15 days old in front of the page whose first line was “It’s a girl!”

But it was a newspaper clipping from the Boston Herald, dated Dec. 21, 1998, at the back of the book that really caught my eye with the headline, “The House rendered a judicious verdict,” announcing the impeachment of President Clinton. Its last line: “Only if the Senate follows suit will justice be done.” How very timely!

The fourth journal, started in January 1998, is a throwaway titled “A Gratitute Book.” Started after I read somewhere that such daily thanksgivings would be a wonderful thing, it ended with a thump less than a month later when I realized that every day was pretty much the same as the next as far as grateful moments went.

Underneath the journals I hit real paydirt ... three big fat envelopes of photos from 1994 and 1995. Granddaughter Shana as a baby and grandsons Nick and Matt at 5 and 4 years old and so stinking cute! And pictures of my children and grandchildren with their father/grandfather, looks like Easter 1994, judging by the cellophane-wrapped basket in the background.

The other two envelopes were packed with photos of my daughter Kathy and her husband Ken’s 10th wedding anniversary with a re-enactment of their vows, this time with the whole family there since they had gotten married in Hawaii with only me and my three nephews in attendance.

And although many photos have been taken of my three sisters and myself over the years, my very favorite of all time, which I think of as “Les Dames Bouchard,” was in there, too, taken while we were all in our finery and sedately seated on the sofa. There was Gail, me, Joan, and stretched out along the back of the couch was Bev, clutching a flower between her teeth as my sister Joan hung onto a handful of Bev’s skirt to keep her from rolling backward and toppling from her perch. I plan to have that one enlarged and framed.

Rhea Bouchard Powers is a writer from Cumberland.

One of the treasures found in drawer No. 7 was a picture of “Les Dames Bouchard,” sisters, from left, Gail, Rhea, Joan, and Bev stretched along the top with a flower clutched between her teeth and Joan hanging onto her skirt to keep her from toppling backward off her perch.