I own a time capsule. It’s an old black suitcase packed with the past, filled with proof of an existence. I inherited it from my grandmother who inherited it from her “Aunt” Theresa. The things inside date from the turn of the 20th century. It is my most cherished possession. If there’s ever a fire, I’m saving the suitcase. When I open it, the stale smell of dry decay hits me like a sigh. It’s a scent I respect. The suitcase contains tatters, moments. There are more questions than answers inside.
The black suitcase holds remnants from an old show business career. “Uncle” Elmer and “Aunt” Theresa were show-folk who roomed with my great-grandmother during The Depression. The case is filled with stage programs, photographs and other ephemera. Everything is brittle and yellow now, some items (like newspaper clippings) are crumbling to dust. The suitcase also contains Elmer’s sadly unfinished memoir, “Confessions of a Press Agent.” An elusive spirit lives in these typewritten pages. I can’t help but meditate on the transitory heartbreak of existence when I look at this stuff. Uncle Elmer is all but forgotten. What chance have I got?