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My Treasure Chest

This is Ray Mele, President of Mele & Co. and this is "My Story!" My dad gave me my first jewelry box as a Christmas gift. I was pretty naïve and didn't realize that it cost him nothing since he happened to co-own the jewelry box company. The box looks like a mini treasure chest wrapped in an antique world map. The first things I put into it on that long ago Christmas day are still in it today: the pin I used to pump up my basketball, a 1000 yen coin commemorating the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the silver ID bracelet my grandmother gave me for my first communion and a gold St. Christopher's medal on a chain that my aunt gave me for my confirmation. My aunt told me it took a day's wages to buy the medal and I remember thinking she could have bought me so many better things for far less! With all of this religious jewelry in tow one would have thought I was heading for the priesthood—nope, that didn't happen, although I have to give my relatives credit for trying to steer me right. The pump pin was the most valuable to me at the time because in my youth I lived to shoot hoops and hear the magical sound of my basketball swish through the net. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but in a small way I get a little excited whenever I open the domed box. I keep it in my bureau drawer and not being a jewelry wearer I only open it once or twice a year. I half expect I will find some new treasure or an old one that I had forgotten about. The memories always flood back whenever I open it. I can almost smell the Christmas tree and see the small smile on my dad's face when I opened his gift. I must have looked a bit disappointed! It wasn't exactly electric football or even a cassette recorder but my jewelry box has outlasted them and looks good as new these 40 plus years later.