The Treasure Chest

On Sunday we ventured out for our family’s first time back in theatres in over a year (more like 16 months, but who’s counting??). Movies are our happy place and we’ve missed the big screen terribly, so we were really looking forward to this.

My nephew wanted to bring blankets to make things extra cozy. I told him to grab a couple smallish throws from the blanket trunk in the living room, and that’s when the confusion set in.

“Where’s the trunk?” He asked. I gestured toward the room where an old vintage steamer trunk sits in the center of our living space, neatly situated where it’s been forever between the couch and the TV.

“Where?” He pressed. Convinced he was trying to annoy me (he is a 14 year old boy) I played along, and we went back and forth on the trunk’s location until he frustratedly exploded,

“THAT’S NOT A TRUNK IT’S A TREASURE CHEST!”

I blinked. 

A treasure chest?

He explained that he’s SEEN a trunk and he KNOWS the difference, but that this piece of furniture is definitely, positively, indisputably a treasure chest.

A smile crept across my face and I had to turn away, before my face I embarrassed the boy. It was the cutest thing.

Yes, buddy, I told him – of course. That trunk in the middle of our living room is totally a treasure chest. I’m sorry, I got confused. You are right.

And off to the movies we went. But I’ve been sitting with this interaction for a few days now; and after thinking it over I’ve come to agree with his assessment.

A trunk is, by definition, a large box with a hinged lid for storing or transporting clothes and other articles (thanks, dictionary.com). This is for sure a large box, it’s where we store our family’s blankets, and the hinged lid is absolutely where we set our beverages during movie night. But it’s a treasure chest, and it’s been one ever since the day it was brought into our home.

The story of the ancient forest green treasure chest in my living room is that my roommate Savanah bought it at an estate sale years ago, hauling it home to our two bedroom in Linden Hills where we lived together when Lola was just a baby. We were both divorcees out on our own, and any piece of furniture brought into our space was assumed to be shared. As such, on any given day you could find Sav working on her laptop with her feet propped up on the treasure chest, or a three year old Lola playing la la loopsy dolls on top of it, or me spreading out a canvas and sitting on the floor using it as a table to paint. We put presents on the treasure chest at birthdays, a spread of snacks on top of it for movie night. The chest had many uses and we filled it with memories, and I was genuinely sad to see it go when eventually Sav and I both remarried and separated our stuff, moving on.

Fast forward a few years to when that same former roommate was moving across the world for a job and was selling literally all of her stuff, listing it for next to nothing on Facebook. I had my eye on the giant off-white bookcase she’d antiqued for our apartment in the hills, but it was snatched up along with most of her other heavy furniture. 

All that was left in her little emptying house off the freeway was a hearty stack of books, and that forest green treasure chest.

Sav told me to fill it with books and take everything away for $20, so I did.

Since then, the treasure chest has been the centerpiece of our living room, from my second story apartment where it was our ottoman/coffee table/photo storage solution, all in one, to the house we live in now where it stores all the softest blankets for movie night. The treasure chest gets spilled on frequently, no matter how many times I yell at the kids that ONLY CAPPED BEVVIES GO THERE! It’s an anchor when we make room-sized blanket forts, and we’ve made Christmas crafts on top of it.

On Sunday mornings we set communion cups and bible journals there, congregating around the treasure chest to stream church online. It’s the piece of furniture we rally around as a family for weekday morning prayer, and it’s there between us in the dark as Christian and I sit on opposing sides of the couch, talking at the end of the day, processing our lives. A treasured piece.

The treasure chest has been worn with love. Its latch is loose so it doesn’t really shut, and the lock is gone (but that’s fine because we never had a key anyway). It matches everything else in our home, which is full of eclectic items that have mostly been thrifted, gifted, or found on the side of the road.

And beat up as it may be, there is something truly magical about an item of furniture that can stand the test of time like this piece has; it speaks to an era when people repaired what was broken vs throwing things away. It’s steady.

I hope the treasure chest always stores the things that bring my family comfort, whether it’s blankets or photos or books or memories of forts and crafts and feet-up family movie nights. The simple treasures, easy to overlook in search of something more – oh, that the gifts in front of my face would always be enough, and let this piece of furniture remind me!

Maybe my favorite use of the treasure chest – Christmas crafts night

The treasure of this chest is that it holds LIFETIMES of memories. From Lola’s childhood and from childhoods of kids we’ll never know.

And for now, it’s ours.

That’s what turns a trunk into a treasure chest.

What items in your home conjur all the feels? Leave me a comment, I want to know!

Okay and you might be wondering how the first movie-going experience post-pandmic felt? REALLY GOOD. We saw A Quiet Place 2 which the kids had been waiting forever to see. Masks were required in common areas, and you purchased your seats in advance in order to space out. There were hardly any folks in our 5:40pm Sunday afternoon showtime. Snacks were okay (THANK GOD) and we bought them there vs sneaking them in (my norm, oops) because Christian pointed out that concessions keep the theatre financially afloat. What a treat. We’d do it again!

Have you been to the movies since the restrictions on indoor gatherings lifted? I wanna hear how it went for you, leave a comment and let me know!

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