The Goddess Speaks
Reunion with bit of old flame
One holiday season while I was in high school, I met a handsome young Marine home on leave from Japan. We were introduced by his mother, a member of my church, and after we'd spoken for a few minutes, he said, "Would you mind if I wrote to you when I get back to Japan?" I said, "Sure, your mother has my address."
We corresponded for about a year, and when he arrived home on leave again, he brought back two beautiful black music boxes, one for me and the other for his buddy's wife.
They were lovely, with hand-painted scenes of Japan on the outside. But the one that went to his friend's wife was actually my favorite. It opened to reveal a tiny Japanese doll in a red kimono that twirled in a circle as the music played. The doll was surrounded by tiny mirrors.
Mine did not have a doll, but inside he had placed a silver engraved bracelet from Siam, which I still have. I was grateful for the gifts and never mentioned my preference for the other jewelry box.
When he was discharged from the Marines, we dated a few times, to the dismay of my parents, who felt he was too mature. They were relieved when I met my current husband, who was closer to my age and more to their liking.
I kept the little music box for about 40 years, but for the past decade or so, I have not been able to find it. Perhaps it was lost when we moved.
Last summer at a yard sale, I spotted a familiar item: a music box just like mine! When I opened the lid, a little Japanese doll twirled around to the music. I handed a white-haired woman the $5 she was asking for the box and ran to the car to show my husband.
As we drove away I realized that I was so excited I hadn't asked the little lady where she got the box. Could she have been the wife of that Marine's buddy of long ago?
The jewelry box has a place of honor on my dresser, and my little grandchildren love to watch the tiny Japanese doll in the red kimono dance. This is indeed a treasure that I will cherish the rest of my life. I will hand it down to my grandchildren, with this story inside.
Joyce Russell is a former Hawaii resident who now lives in Walbridge, Ohio. She is the author of "Hawaii Kid's Star & Ben," under the name Tutu Joyce.
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