I looked at my bookshelf this evening with a new set of eyes….
Of course, it does contain books. Each one carefully selected for its content and telling of my life’s journey this past many years.
But it contains so much more and, once again, each item selected as a sign of who I am and the journey I’ve been called to travel.
There’s pictures of my two adult children and I beam with pride as I reflect on the productive adults they have become. A Valentines Day card from my daughter that I found recently from years gone by, simply signed “I love you.” A copy of a newspaper article about a day in the life of my son, who is a police officer. And my favorite, a picture of the two of them together.
Another cherished part of the shelf’s display is a Valentines Day card from my girlfriend Lisa. The loving thoughts that it shares are a special reminder of our journey together. It includes the words “feeling incredibly lucky and proud to be the one who gets to call you “my love.” The love we share together is unique and uplifting.
Then there are two youth football helmets that represent two of my three school homes during my teaching career. The Eagles’ helmet is representative of Grandview Middle school, where I taught for twenty-two years. And then there’s the Redskins’ helmet, reminding me of the six years I spent at H.M. Arndt Middle School.
There also can be found on this bookshelf of mine a wooden drink bottle crate that contains over twenty 7-Up drink bottles. I started collecting bottles back in my teenage years and my collection used to occupy shelves just above my bed in my childhood home. There are a couple of 7-Up signs as well that remind me of my large collection of soda signs from various stores. A reminder of the time spent at my great-grandfather’s store, just a short distance from where I’m living now.
There are other odds and ends to be found on the bookshelf as well. Several small wind-up clocks, that of course have all the numbers displayed. An Indian chief statue that represents the last school I worked at before retiring. A photo album that stores pictures of my brother and sister and I from our childhoods is also cherished as well.
I have a bank that is from my grandparents’ house. It’s a large deer, painted in gold. Then there’s the Buster Brown bank that sits beside it. Tropical bird feathers are lined up in glass containers. They were a gift from a student in my class several years ago and are reminders that even though I retired ten years ago, I still continue to teach.
The bookshelf is a kind reminder of the earthly journey I’m on, with each bit and piece a part of who I am this day.