I just discovered one of the best yard sale finds ever? When I opened the lid I discovered a treasure trove of vintage finds.
The other day I mentioned “collect calling” to the twins and they stared at me blankly.
You know—I told them.
A long time ago when you went into a phone booth and didn’t have any money—so you had to dial the operator and tell them you wanted to talk to your father and explain that you and your friends needed a ride home because you were stuck at the movies without a ride or a quarter.
More blank looks.
Quarters in the phone? Phone booth? Calling an operator?
It was as if I was speaking Greek or Latin or Martian. No one was picking up what I was putting down.
It made me think how much life has changed in such a short while. Is it wrong that I miss collect calling? Or Blockbuster movie rentals? Or Glamour shots? Or Columbia House Record Club? Or mixtapes that you made off your clock radio.
There was a whole life that existed before life as we now know it. A life that was full of amazing things that we’ve replaced with newer and faster and better. A life full of things we’ve lost or tossed to the side or forgotten about.
Good thing I just found this box.
Because when I opened it?
I found this inside.
I found this box at my friend’s yard sale and I fell in love with the patina and the edges and the worn lid and the stenciled writing on the side.
I thought it was just an ordinary box.
It looks simple and unassuming and unremarkable.
Until you lift the lid.
I literally gasped when I opened it.
Instead of just a wooden box?
It’s so much more.
It was a time capsule ensconced in a wooden box– a treasure trove of tools and fasteners and drill bits and woodworking pencils. Oh, the stories these tools could tell of projects that existed before electric drills and screwdrivers you can chat it up with and drills that connect with an app on your phone.
This box is older than the iPhone.
It was around way before streaming services ever introduced binging television shows.
It existed before the internet and laptop computers and i-pads and AirPods and color televisions and restaurants that serve nothing but coffee.
There is hard work and dedication and a few hard knocks embedded into every line of these tools. You can see the dings and the nicks and the marks and the indentions of hundreds of projects on these tools.
Projects you couldn’t google.
Projects your father’s father’s father taught his son.
Projects that were done to last forever rather than the next 10 minutes.
Just between us? I don’t even know what half the stuff in this box does. I showed it to my husband the carpenter and he didn’t know either.
But that doesn’t matter.
Because this toolbox is pure vintage gold.
I’m thinking about framing some of these tools. Or cleaning them up and displaying them. Or figuring out some way to reinvent the pieces from this toolbox.
I love this wooden toolbox with all its imperfections and rusty treasures.
I can’t help it.
There’s something so amazing about holding history in your hands.
Technology is transforming our lives in ways this long-ago carpenter could have never understood. And the faster that life spins? It’s important to ground ourselves in the foundation of tools and toolboxes and vintage finds and the history of lives that were well-lived.
It’s a lesson I want to share with the twins.
In a little while.
I think they still need to recover from our “collect calling” conversation.
I couldn’t help it. I told them about phone books, too. 🙂
PS My husband just read this post and asked me if they still made clock radios.
I covered my toolbox’s ears and told him to Google it. 🙂
PPS Is there anything that you miss that isn’t around anymore?