Echoes of Elul, Day 26: Memories, Role Models and a Milk Can

Monica Engel

I have a small tray on the counter where I fix my face every day. I happened to take notice of a small blue and silver oval shaped metal box that contains safety pins. It was a face powder box that belonged to my mother and for whatever reason it called my attention to the memories I am surrounded with in my home and in my heart. Behind me is a framed photo of my Aunt Winnie who gave me the silk gloves accompanying the picture. I was 4 years old, and now I’m 88. On my dresser, there is a pretty flower in a coffee mug that my grandfather used every day. The sitting room is home to my grandma’s bedside lamp and a photo of my father holding me in his lap. I was 2; he died from an accident when I was 4. The walls outside my bedroom are laden with pictures of great grandparents, aunts and uncles long gone. A photo of me at age 6, when I won honorable mention in a beauty contest hangs next to several of Irv’s childhood photos and pictures of his ancestors.

I walked down stairs and the first thing that catches my eye is a beautiful wall chest containing delicate items my grandmother cherished and a collection plate from WW1. As a child, I remember telling my G’ma I wanted that unusual chest. Enter the kitchen and there’s a collage on the wall featuring the keys to the 13-room farm house where my grandparents resided and medals from the Boer war and a horse show. I have my grandfather’s camera, his carpentry tools and a milk can.

I could go on and on. I am so blessed with the memories I experience every day. My mother was a widow at 21 and lived until 92; she worked and her sisters took care of me when I was a child. I had amazing role models that shaped me into the person I am today. Now I know where my passion for helping others emerged.

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