Monday, February 6, 2017

What Do You Do With Childhood Trophies?

I've lost track of the trophies that I've won over the years. I do remember that they were from a variety of events and not just one particular specialty.

There were the numerous sports trophies, with wins in basketball, softball and track.

I played baritone in the band and have a trophy or two for that.

I won the ping pong tournament at school one year and got another shiny piece of metal.

I won a tennis tournament at church camp (Not sure how I managed that one; the other player must have been really bad because I could barely hit the ball over the net more than one time in a row.) and received a small trophy for that.

One fall, at one of the local town festivals I entered the greased pig contest. And won! And yes, I received a handsome trophy with a shiny silver pig on the top. (Dad was especially proud of that one.)

I was also in 4-H and had the Grand Champion fair rabbit my senior year of high school. Rainbow was a French-lopped rabbit with the biggest ears and feet you've ever seen; he was big and had a great personality. I received another shiny trophy with a rabbit on the top. (I think that was my favorite of all of them.)

I know I won a few more, several for academic accomplishments and I think even one for bowling.

In a lot of situations, the kids grow up and move out of the house. Their childhood room remains pretty much the way they left it, filled with mementoes and memories until they are well into adulthood.

This wasn't the case for me. I graduated from high school and my mother moved out the next day. She had lost her job, but still managed to get her youngest child through school before heading off into the sunset. Dad moved to Georgia a few months later and left us three kids, plus a new sister-in-law alone in the old house on Cherry Fork Road.

The first thing my new sister-in-law tried to do was redecorate the house in a style that fitted her tastes. And the first thing she decided to decorate was the mantle in the living room. Guess what was sitting on the mantle in the living room?

My trophies.

Now instead of my trophies filling up the room with all of my glorious accomplishments, there were candles and knick knacks. Bric a brac, whatnots and plain old crap--not a trophy in sight. "Where are my trophies?" I asked.

"I wanted to redecorate," she said.

"I don't care what you change, but the trophies aren't going anywhere," I said and proceeded to remove all of the junk. "The trophies are staying," I said again. "Where are they?"

"I put them in a box," my sister-in-law of four months said.

It wasn't a very smooth beginning to our relationship.

Over the next two years, the mantle started to overflow as I continued to achieve successes in various events. When it came time for me to move south to further my education, I remember being saddened as I now packed my trophies into a box to move south. This part of my life was now over--the part of coming home with a new trophy, showing it to mom and dad, and having mom place it on the mantle.

We didn't have a mantle in the house in Georgia. For a few months after I moved south, things were so busy getting me off to school, plus all of us working lots of overtime hours, the trophies continued to sit in the box in which they were moved. One weekend, when I came from college, Mom took me in the spare bedroom and showed me a wonderful surprise. She had built two shelves along one side of the room and they were filled with all of my old trophies. I was delighted. Elated, to be more precise.

Over the years, the trophies remained there as I went to college and then off into the work force. I never really lived with my parents in the new house--mainly through college breaks and sometimes in the summer.

It was a small house, only two bedrooms, and when my brother (minus his wife) moved to Georgia, he took up residence in the other bedroom. I'm not sure how long the trophies remained there but I know it was probably a dozen years or more. One day I came to visit and they weren't there any longer. "I'm thinking about doing some remodeling," mom said. "I put your trophies in a box. I hope you don't mind."

"I don't mind. Maybe, I'll take them and put them up in my house," I said.

More time passed and eventually the trophies became forgotten. Mom and I were sorting through some old boxes and came upon the old box filled with my childhood accomplishments. "I thought you took these with you," she said.

"I forgot all about them," I said. We looked through the box and reminisced about Rainbow, the rabbit, playing in the band and wrestling a greased pig. "What should I do with these old trophies?" I asked.

Mom thought for a moment, "Well, you can take them if you want too, but they aren't hurting anything by sitting in this box. I'll just clean them up and put them back away. It's too bad you kids didn't get to stay around where you grew up. It would have fun been keeping your rooms the way they were. We did it backward, didn't we?" she asked.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Well, you kids grew up and me and your dad moved away," she replied.

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