Saturday, May 14, 2011

Top Drawer

Top Drawer

Everyone has a top drawer of a dresser, nightstand or desk where items collect.  Some things are used a lot, a small pair of scissors to clip off the new tags on clothing or a pack of sticky notes for example.  Add an emery board emblazoned with a political candidate’s name and slogan- “Let Mike make a Difference!”or a black velvet jewelry pouch for travel. Handy and practical.   But also in that top drawer one may store some things that are just too good to toss, but don’t have much usefulness anymore.   In my top drawer I recently found a once significant tac pin from a past sales meeting, a random “Elmo” key fob,  a macaroni necklace & a matchbook from a now extinct favorite restaurant. Much less practical but nostalgically significant and not disposable quite yet. 

 So I was not surprised when opening my Mother’s top dresser drawer to find all sorts of things.  As a little girl I wasn’t ever allowed in that top drawer.  It was deemed, “none of my business” and anything in that space was off limits and after all didn’t belong to me.

Decades later I was about to embark on opening that top dresser drawer at my Mom’s home.  She had left this house five years ago and would most likely never return again for she resided in an Alzheimer’s assisted living facility. This day I was on a hunt for the practical, some costume jewelry to take to my Mother.  At homes like these things get misplaced and “rearranged” so it had to be something I was willing to never see again…(or see in a month or two bedecking some other dear resident as they walked within four safe walls.)

Cautiously, stealthily, I sat on Mom’s bed and paused in front of the limed-oak dresser.  Purchased by my newlywed parents in the early 50’s, it would be considered “retro” or “vintage” to the trained eye and “way out of date” by anyone else.  It matched a chest of drawers and a carved headboard.  The knobs appealed to me. They were substantial and not ornate in the slightest. They were the size and shape of an old fashioned Shredded Wheat biscuit, say about 6”wide x 3”high. (That description is surely lost on the frosted mini-wheat generation of today.) 

I sat like a safe-cracker in front of the anticipated loot then let out an audible sigh and glided the drawer open gently, without a sound. It felt wrong to be ‘snooping,’ but I was on a personal mission for HER, so I let the guilt subside and got on with the task.

In her top dresser drawer, along with scads of costume jewelry and little change purses I found a yellowed & worn 3x5 card.

 In my Mother’s lacy left-handed cursive writing it said:

Say this Every Morning

I believe this is going to be a wonderful day.  I believe I can successfully handle all problems that will arise today.  I feel good physically, mentally, emotionally.  It is wonderful to be alive.  I am grateful for all that I have had, for all that I now have and for all that I shall have.  Things aren’t going to fall apart.  God is here and He is with me and He will see me through.  I thank God for every good thing.   Love, Jacqi  / From the Power of Positive Thinking~ Rev. Norman Vincent Peale.

 My mother knew the magic of positive thinking and she knew that carefully chosen words counteract negativity.  Be damned cynicism and hopelessness! Hit the road anxiety. And if that weren’t enough, she had her God on her side! 

She would make herself notes as reminders and this one must have been a particular favorite judging by its tattered-ness and placement in her Top Drawer. Certainly you can guess where the worn 3x5 card will reside; in my dresser, the top drawer, of course. And for the next 3 years that will be a top drawer in China.

 So now, after Mom’s passing on Mother’s Day 2011, my dear daughter & I sort through costume jewelry, tac pins, a passport and driver’s license, earthly items that only have meaning & worth on this plane.  The forbidden Top Drawer has revealed more than earthly items that is certain.  It’s revealed a portion of my mother’s philosophy and how she wanted to live her 83 years, 7 months and 23 days. Her legacy of the power of positive thinking has helped me through some uphill climbs in my life. And her passing away will be a new challenge. Today I walked away slowly from her memorial service knowing that “things aren't going to fall apart.”  I waved and blew a kiss through the air like we have always done and began a new journey being grateful and steeped in the knowledge and comfort that I will always be, “Jacqi’s Daughter.”

I love you, Mom, Always Have…..Always Will….......Carol

Jacquelyn Eleanor Mikulec-Sept. 15,1927 – May 8,2011

Thanks for reading,



SUSAN said...

loved this thanks for sharing...
susan rinke

Jim said...

Beautiful tribute, Carol. Great was for me to (tearily) end this day.

Patrice said...

I second was a very special ceremony for a very special person.

ahagelthorn said...

Carol...I remember the drawer in our home...and like you I had the opportunity to go through it after my parents passed...It was an amazing journey because those were things that were special to them and nobody else. We spent weeks going though other boxes that were deemed off limits. I'm still reading the letters written during WWII...those memories will be with you forever.


Sandy said...

Dearest Carol, I so loved this tribute that you wrote for your mother. You have a way with words, that makes the reader feel your emotions. Take care my friend Love, your neighbor,Sandy Bell

Becca said...

I've gone through a few top drawers in the past few years, and there are often surprises to be found there. Your mom left you some good advice. I was thinking that today when your brother was relating the story about her "positive thinking " messages, and thinking what a good idea it is to remind ourselves of the things we need to know in this life. so I learned a good lesson from your mom too, and I'll be making my own index card for my own top drawer :)

This was beautiful..xxoo

Jean Fisher said...

The best part is that your mothers legacy will live on in you and in your daughter and her daughters and she will be like you a wonderful mother...

Colleen Friesen said...

You have spread your mother's legacy all the way to Sechelt, British Columbia. I too, will be writing my own index card to keep in my jewelry box. Your mother was wise to keep that reminder. Thank you.

Unknown said...

Carol, I'm so sorry--I didn't know. I loved your mother--she was feisty, pretty, well-dressed, always smelled good, laughed a lot and was fun. When I was growing up, I thought all adults should be more like her. And although I know that she was troubled and had struggles, I don't remember her ever really talking about the dark in her life--only the light. And you were definitely one of her lights.
I will miss her too.

Becky in Alaska said...

Sorry--the unknown is me. I apparently am not as computer savvy as I think. Hopefully this will post with my name.