By Deborah A. Dickinson-Deacon
Life is full of boxes from birth to death. It is hard to imagine life without them.
There is a new health-related initiative to use baby boxes, instead of cribs, to avoid SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Playpens are box-shaped and meant to prevent the child from wandering into unsafe areas of the home. My playpen from the 1950s had wooden rails, but today that would be considered unsafe, and replaced by fabric mesh. My toy box stored many stuffed animals, balls, games and puzzles. Today’s toy boxes include battery-operated learning devices for children.
Upon starting school, I remember lunch boxes, crayon boxes and pencil boxes. Companies promoted educational causes with the “Box Tops for Education” found on various food cartons. Children need sneakers for playing on the playgrounds and sometimes the shoe boxes are more fun than the sneakers. The same could be said for appliance boxes. My parents may have been proud of their new refrigerator, stove, washer or dryer, but as a child I just wanted the box to create a playhouse or rocketship. When I was 4, I played in my neighbor’s sandbox, home-built for his grandchildren. Many individuals may remember soap box derbies where small-wheeled boxes, without engines, raced down a local street. Races are still held at the Derby Downs Track in Akron, Ohio.
A teenager’s life is filled with boxes: movie outings include candy and popcorn boxes, pizza boxes or Chinese takeout boxes at parties. The responsibility of pets includes cleaning the various boxes like fish tanks, dog box or bed, and/or cat litter boxes. Those who had newspaper routes may have had corresponding boxes. The dominant box for a young person today is the email inbox.
As the teen contemplates college versus the working world, there are online applications to complete, for both options, containing numerous-sized boxes for typed personal information. College on-campus housing may require under-the-bed boxes to conserve space.
When a person finds a life partner, the boxes continue – hope chests, wedding ring boxes and boxed gifts for the couple to have all the comforts of home. These might include the latest small appliances, flat screen TVs, indoor and outdoor furniture. Home ownership includes garbage totes and recycle boxes. Even the home itself is generally square or rectangular shaped and evolves into a living storage box.
While storing memories online via Facebook and other social media is popular, I prefer the old-fashioned memory boxes and photo albums. I also like coin boxes. Does anyone still remember Halloween nights where collecting for UNICEF was a means of helping children remember others, and not just themselves and the candy?
Never underestimate the priority of the tissue box or packet. Tissues have seen me through tears of joy and sorrow. Colds and allergies make them a staple in purses and pockets. They are there to clean up life’s small messes. Makeup and tissues are a common couple.
As people mature into their middle-aged years, our boxes take on a different meaning. We prepare for end-of-life concerns with ownership of safe deposit boxes to store important documents. We need to decide if want a wooden or metal burial casket/box or crematory box. If we decide on cremation, will the remains be buried, entombed or thrown to the winds over land or sea?
From crib to coffin, we live both inside and outside the box. For me, it’s what I do outside the box that matters, before I’m permanently inside.