It was a gloomy, rainy day when I explored the last frontier of my house: The attic. It wasn’t really an attic; it was more a spare bedroom turned “junk room.” But to my five-year-old mind, “attic” and “junk room” were synonymous. I gave my weight to the door, for endless piles of stuff were barricading my path. What I found inside once I managed to squirm into the room was a plethora of possibilities; what should I ransack first?
I began by wading through the boxes littering the floor until I found one that somehow suited my fancy. Something about it, though I wasn’t sure what, seemed to call to me. I chose an ivory-colored leather box whose latch had broken. The box itself wasn’t that glamorous, but what was inside was enthralling. Pearl necklaces, teardrop diamond chains, and turquoise bracelets drooped over pearl earrings, orange ivory brooches, and cameos. In the middle stood a ballerina, balancing impeccably on one toe as a gentle melody twinkled from the box. Her delicate white tutu had been lightly gilded, creating moments of sparkle as she slowly spun. Little did I know the box belonged to my grandmother, and eventually, these jewels would all belong to me.
I believe in the joy of attic adventures. They allow for a visit to the past without living perpetually in the past. The concept of an attic is versatile. Some houses have tall, castle-like towers that act as attics. Other houses may have pull-down stairs leading to a musty chamber, and others use separate storage units. A “proper attic” is not necessary. The area that tends to family artifacts needing a place to stay can be proclaimed “the attic.” Regardless of location, the attic embodies in its inhabitants a sense of adventure and magic; on which journey will they embark today?
The curiosity that pulled me into that bedroom as a child still pulls me to my attic today. Whenever a moment of tearful nostalgia sweeps over me, I always travel to my attic to reassure myself that the past is not completely gone. A loft looking over the garage and a clandestine room to the side of the basement now comprise this special place where I reflect on my earlier days. Tubs of headless Barbie dolls, glittery Disney princess costumes, elementary school dioramas, and pastel fashion backpacks all surround the loft. On the lower level, Santa Claus, “Mr. Jack-o-Lantern,” and an old Civil War general quietly read antique Nancy Drew novels together. As for me, all I need to do is relax and let my mind run wild. Just as my grandmother’s box found me many years ago, the perfect relic always finds me.