Mid-century Modern Train Case

Within An Old Suitcase

I have that old hard-sided suitcase of Grandmas’, and on the outside are all the old stickers from some distant trip Great Aunt Helen took. At some point I gather you got your grubby little hands on it, and decided your name needed to be included … so in your childish hand you wrote your name.

The little metal label on the outside says MCBRINE, and some years ago I found a matching vanity hard-sided train case at that wonderful little antique shop here just off Richmond, across from Victoria Park.

Grandma's SuitcaseAt some point Mom I suppose I began collecting suitcases. More specifically, MCBRINE suitcases, as Tim and I found another at a little place up in Grey that last summer before he died. It’s a different vintage then the other two, as the label is slightly different, and has Kitchener, Ontario written underneath the logo.

Although, I do admit, I didn’t know I was collecting MCBRINE suitcases until about half an hour ago when I went and took a better look at the one Tim and I found. Yip, golly gee, how appropriate for someone, such as myself, with her share of baggage, collects suitcases, eh? Rather apropos as well that the maker has brine in the name, as these cases contain quite a few salty tears of mine.

I decided to again open that old case Tim and I found. Inside I have another collection.

I’ve written here of this before, briefly. That was back when I didn’t know I was actually writing to you. Back then, I was in deep grief, and I’d just finished packing away inside all these things of Tim’s – like the clothes he was wearing when he died, an old scrapbook of his, and his gold chain he always wore. I’m sure those clothes are covered in my tears, and the inside has musty smell, so I put a bar of soap inside to freshen it up.

Today I decided I’m going to wear the short sleeve t-shirt, as I desperately need t-shirts and I’ve been too lazy lately to venture forth and buy some. I’m going to wear over it this beautiful collarless black Bruttini dress shirt of his I’ve grown to love.

I’m also keeping the case out, enough of this tucking away all my beautiful things. I no longer breakdown in tears at the mere sight of it.

I realized something today though, and it happened rather randomly. Yesterday a couple of people liked one of my old posts, and one thing lead to another, and I realized I was, well, I guess you could say living a dream. That post, Dreaming In Grey, was about this old house dream I used to have all the time. I had 3 of them in total, and each took place in a different apartment. Yet, somewhere hidden within the walls was a secret way I’d never knew was there, and so one day I ventured forth through this secret door, and on the otherside I was within the walls of this abandoned mansion.

Rather appropriate, as within us all are secret mansions, if we but gather the courage to look for them.

Vintage SuitcaseWell, so I’d put the suitcase away in the one closet this little bachelor has. The closet at one time had been the back staircase, and this apartment would have been the back kitchen.

So here I am thinking, what wonders may we find within ourselves? What lies hidden away inside? Not so hidden perhaps to me anymore though, as gradually I’m clearing the dust of grey away, and such wonderful colours now I see around me. Of old tapestries, long forgotten, scattered papers turning yellow across the floor, and underneath the grime and soot, beautiful things appear.

That old staircase, with old painted wooden stairs to nowhere, I think needs to be cleaned out and re-arranged on my next day off. I’m not utilizing it near enough, and such wonderful storage space is being squandered. Yeah, I know, some powerful metaphors of my life can be seen in that, symbolizing all the things I need to do.

One step at a time though.



  1. merlinspielen

    Your post reminds me that our real journey; the journey of our individual lives, is within our individual selves. Yet somehow we drag along these physical boxes and bags of ‘what was’…
    I am moving out of my master bedroom to let a friend escaping her past take refuge with her young son. And in that moving of my stacked memories I have found the chaos of old photographs from when I thought I was a photographer. Black and white frozen slices of time. I found random file folders of poems that had nearly been birthed – more black on white frozen slices of time.
    And in that rediscovery of images and words I am left drifting through muddled gray memories of yesterday…


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