The Giant Cardboard Box of Death (TM) was the worst. The last box packed when I did the sudden shift over to mum's to look after her after dad died, it had anything and everything in it. Anything that was left was just thrown into this box. Can't fit this one in with the others? Giant Cardboard Box of Death (TM). Got some scraps of paper and don't know what's on them? We have to go and they might be important - Giant Cardboard Box of Death (TM).
At nearly a metre and a half high, it was big enough to have sex in, even if I had another person with me!
The mice had been through it. Mum's place backs onto paddocks and field-mice are small and fully capable of getting in pretty much anywhere they want. The area has mouse problems a few times a year. So the Giant Cardboard Box of Death (TM) is full of chewed up paper things and mouse poo forming a peculiar confetti filling between the various objects of the box.
A fire burning in the paddocks threatened to take out mum's house a few years back, while I was interstate. I remember shocking Sharon by telling her that if mum and the dogs were out, the rest could just burn. "But what about your videos?" she'd asked.
"Well, I could have started over and this time I'd actually catalogue them." And lable them...
As I sorted through this box of mystery, I started to wish that the fire had indeed found the house, starting with this infernal box. Oh I found lots of fanzines, ninety percent of which were miraculously unchewed, mice finding the ravings of fans unpalatable. And some audio tapes, only a few of which had the tape pulled out of them to form nesting material. But as I continued to dig, I found myself wondering why I was continuing. The box was huge, it was nasty... why didn't I just, if you'll pardon my French, burn zee ferking thing?
And then I found it. The single item that made the Giant Cardboard Box of Death (TM) worth searching through. Something I knew I had, but that I had no idea where it had ended up, all those years ago - May of nineteen-ninety-six, to be exact.
A small, blue photo album. It was given to me in for Christmas, 1989.
By Bernadette, my birthmum.
It has photos of her and Peter, my father (despite what he said at the time - bastard!), a couple of baby photos of me and a little card with my birthweight and the time I plunged out of bio-mum. Hmmm... 6:45am, I was always an early riser.
And it's funny how much I look like Bernadette. There are looks in some of the photos that I know from the inside. The bandy legs and facial hair all come from my bio-dad (bastard!). It's also got a newspaper photo of his wedding to another woman, six days before my birth. I've only heard one side of the story, but I heard enough to know he's a prick. I know his attitudes from the inside. I grew up with them and made a conscious decision not to follow all my worst instincts.
It's a nice little slice of my life back. The parents I never had.
I'd never swap things, change the way things happened. Mum was mad, dad was drunk but they're my parents and I love them greatly, hell that's why I'm moving in to look after mum. She's my mum. That said, if Bernadette rang me and needed help, I'd be there.
She's also family :)