Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Over the holidays, I watched the movie Amelie again, for the first time in a long time. If you know it, you may remember that Amelie goes on a mission to return a small box of treasure, found hidden in a secret cavity in her bathroom. After some delightful detective work, she finds the now grown-up owner and returns the box to him anonymously; and the memories that flood back as the man rifles through his childhood box of treasure, welled up with emotion, leave Amelie changed – she resolves to do good all her days.

While I watched the movie, Judah’s treasure box sat on the couch next to me. It was given to him at Christmas, lovingly and beautifully made by Kim and filled with the most wondrous things: an old fashioned metal robot, shells, a metal cog, a small spanner, random chess pieces, a spinning top, a hand-carved zebra from Africa, dice, rocks and a wooden spoon. Judah has added his own small treasures: a five-cent piece, an old metal fighter plane, a small plastic frog, and tiny corkscrew shells he finds at the beach.

The box was the catalyst: before we knew it, he’d embraced collecting and treasure, moved on from robots and mechanical things, and jumped headfirst (arrrrrr, me-hearties!) into the world of pirates roaming the high seas.

Obsessed, I tell you.

Actually, I can’t begin to tell you how fun this phase is; there are plenty of hand-drawn maps and more cause for armour (yeah, I didn’t know that pirates wore armour either!), eye patches, and toilet roll spyglasses with bright cellophane stuck to one end. Beach visits see him spending a considerable amount of time scanning the horizon watching for approaching tall ships, and digging in the sand at random intervals, just in case visiting pirates buried their loot.

At home, the treasure box now lives securely in a treasure chest; his fanciful stories have scary monsters that morph into hooked/peg-legged pirates (that fly through the sky chasing our magic dog, Ella and superhero sister Lou, who eats cake while sitting on the sun), and driving sees us playing a version of ‘Where’s Wally,’ pirate-style.
For the record, pirates seem to camp out a lot in trees, hide in clouds, and like visiting McDonalds for ice-cream. Who would have guessed?

Personally, I love treasure. And I wished that I had my own small wonders still tucked away somewhere, safe in a rusty box or buried beneath one of our old Queenslanders in the cool under-the-house dirt. My box may have contained paper dolls, pressed flowers, small hand-drawn pictures, pages from picture books and magazines, little dolls, and handwritten notes in envelopes with crinkle-edged stamps.

What would your treasure box contain?


No comments: