The Trunk That Couldn’t Fly

April 29, 2012

I am really surprised at how much emotional stuff I am being confronted with as I go through this process of downsizing. For instance, many years ago I decided that traveling was the one thing in my life that I really wanted to do. I didn’t care where I went. I just wanted to see as much of the world as I could. More probably as a teenager what I really wanted was to sprout wings and fly away. We were a poor family, living out in the country in Washington State, and having no set plan on how to make these traveling dreams come true, it seemed impossible.

I never discussed these plans with my parents but they knew, they knew the way that parents know so much more than we as children think they do.

I can’t remember when, but I think it must have been sometime near my high school graduation when dad came into the living room one day with a beat-up looking WWII army trunk hefted onto his shoulder.

“This is yours for when you take off to see the world,” he said and set it down in front of me. Actually I have no recollection if that was what he really said to me that day. Though I would like to think that it might have been something like that.

All this occurred a long, long time ago and that trunk has taken many journeys with me. It traveled to Portland, OR with me where I met my first husband. In the mid 60’s the trunk traveled with us to San Francisco, CA becoming part of the furniture in our sotto hippie pad while our fragile marriage crumbled and fell apart. And then it traveled with my son and I and my new husband as we headed for NYC where the trunk functioned as storage for everything from fabric to my growing collection of personal journals.

But now I’m making another major move and this time the trunk will not be coming with me. It’s a bit sad to think about leaving it behind but really this is the best decision. The trunk would take up too much space in our new smaller home and though it could serve as storage, it would always be in the way.

Rather than selling the trunk I gave it to Keiko, a friend and shoe designer who lives in Brooklyn. She loved the trunk and will use it to store leather and other supplies. I feel good knowing that the trunk will by used by someone who is creative and working hard to make her business a success.

I watched her carry the trunk through our courtyard. She is a slight woman, standing not quite five feet tall. I thought the trunk would be far too heavy for her though she easily lifted it and carried it out the door. I suppose it’s my memories that filled the trunk over the years that made the trunk seem so heavy.

Over the years I’ve thought about that day when my father gave me that trunk. I don’t know if he thought I’d actually take it on an airplane when I took my trips around the world. Or did he envision me taking ocean voyages?

I know he’d always had a dream of someday flying in an airplane. Whether it was finances or the way people get stuck living with what they consider impossible dreams, but he never did get a chance to fly. A two pack a day smoker, he died of lung cancer two years after I move to NYC.


I took this photo of dad a couple of months before I moved to NYC.

The idea of flying all the way to NYC without refueling fascinated him and in my last conversation with him before he passed away, he wheezed and coughed but could not stop talking about how interesting it must have been to fly non stop across the country.

I’ve done a lot of flying since my father passed away over thirty years ago and on some flights, the long ones in particular, I think of my dad and that trunk.



Tags: , , ,

13 Responses to The Trunk That Couldn’t Fly

  1. Jeri on April 29, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Beautiful story – it brought tears to my eyes. Will you “visit” the trunk once you move?

  2. thelma straw on April 29, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Very poignant. this is one of your best blogs. tjstraw

  3. Sharon on April 29, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Happy to read that you have some good memories of your Dad.

  4. Jan on April 29, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Touching story….wonderful photos, Margaret!

  5. Dr. Juan Otero Jr. on April 29, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Great story, Marg. I wouldn’t expect anything less.
    Memories are what enrichen our lives and make the journey worth while.
    Thanks for sharing your journey.
    Dr. Juan

  6. Toddi on April 30, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I remember the trunk: a graduation, keepsake, and travel trunk present. Sometimes, we forget the greatness of our father with all the other life situations our childhood brought to us to endure. I know he cared and showed it only when it was ment to be shown.

    The story did bring tears to me, but not as much as seeing dad and the way you captured him as he WAS. As a parent, friend, stranger, we do not know what little bit of kindness can bring and remain. I was so delighted when you began your ‘flying’ adventures to places you had always dreamed of. Down-sizing must be a bitter sweet experience. Embrace the memories. Love you, Toddi

  7. Susan on May 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Yes, this is a great story. I can only imagine how difficult it is to downsize after all these years and all the memories it is bringing back. Keep the stories coming and the move will be easier for you as you share your move with everyone. We give you strength to do the move and you give us more. Susan

  8. marcella langford on May 5, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    I love your stories. I have never had a picture of Uncle Ed (your Dad). This was great.
    I am going to try and put them in my family folder. Don’t know if I can do that or not but will try. I remember when my Dad bought me a cedar chest to fill with items for my future. He called it my hope chest, and he also bought a knife set and spatulas to place in it.
    Keep writing, I enjoy every article. Marcella

  9. Chloe C on May 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    wonderful story, wonderful pictures!

  10. Susan Bernhardt on April 29, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    Very nice, Margaret.

    • Pushing Time on April 30, 2016 at 7:05 am

      Hi Susan, So glade you liked the blog post.

  11. Elke Kuhn on April 30, 2016 at 1:27 am

    Love this recollection of your father and the trunk, and it’s altimate departure in the arms of a young woman who will put it to good purpose for years to come. I wonder if many people have trunk stories?

    • Pushing Time on April 30, 2016 at 7:08 am

      Hi Elke, So happy to see your response because I too wondered that. I know there are plenty attachment issues while they de-clutter. But trunks are totally synonymous with collecting and storing memorabilia. They has got to be some good stories out there! Do you have one.

Join The Discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.