A junk drawer is much more than a catch-all.
It’s filled with stories.
Everyone needs another room. Even those living in sprawling suburban homes with several bedrooms and baths wish for one more. As a New Yorker, I on the other hand, want just one more drawer.
When living in a New York apartment with no outside storage, getting back to basics is essential. With every closet, drawer, shelf, and nook and cranny bulging, anything additional seems out of the question. One more drawer filled with various unimportant yet special memorabilia would definitely be a luxury. What I really need is a junk drawer.
When I visit my mom in Pennsylvania, I always look forward to recovering pieces from chapters of my past. Her dark red kidney bean chili; one of my favorite chairs in a crewel fabric, and one random drawer loaded with a smorgasbord of goodies. It’s a trove of cosmetics, tchotchkes, jewelry, and unknown items, and simply divine. I guess the saying “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” is apropos in this situation.
My infatuation with my grandmother’s “stuff” and her junk drawer transferred from childhood to adulthood. Now I have the exact same infatuation with my mother’s junk drawer. I guess history repeats itself. I discovered that junk drawer again inadvertently during my recent trip to Pennsylvania while I unpacked.
I recall almost the exact same drawer many years ago at my grandmother’s house. Curious about the potential ever-changing interior, I raided the drawer each time I visited, only to discover more of the same. Week to week, month to month and year to year, I searched for new items, and found comfort in the old. These were more than the typical trinkets that others keep in odd places. The drawer was a home for lipsticks, perfume, decorative pins, faux gems, empty boxes, rosaries, change purses, handkerchiefs, and other unique paraphernalia, all telling the story of my grandmother’s life.
After visiting her house yesterday where my aunt now lives, I had a flashback of that dresser drawer in the middle bedroom on the second floor of her three-story Victorian row house. It brought back sweet memories. The furniture that held that drawer is long gone, and still, three decades later, I reminisce about the countless items that once lived in this miniature treasure chest.
It’s about time to create a junk drawer of my own. When I get back New York tomorrow I’ll start working on it.