i don’t really know what to call this


I’ve taken to visiting thrift stores
and antique shops
every chance I get.
Once I visited to drop things off,
now I visit in search of
things I don’t know I am looking for
until I spy them.

Last week I found this recipe box
just like the one I owned when
the children were small.
That’s a block of time on the calendar, you know,
an entire lifetime, actually,
“when the children were small”.

My little tin box was filled
with index cards,
each bearing a recipe
for something that would feed us.

It seemed to simple then,
when the important things,
the nourishing things
fit on an index card.


  1. Ahewell

    I’d call it food for the body and soul.  I love it!

  2. Merry ME

    Years ago I upgraded my metal box to plastic. It is so jammed full of recipes I rarely use anymore it won’t close. The organization is gone. Now salad recipes reside with meat dishes, and salads are piled amongst magazine pages that never got transposed onto index cards. 

    But what this really makes me think of is the green file box, probably pilfered from the Navy, that sat on my father’s desk for years. It housed my mom’s Christmas card list. Every year he’d add a check mark to the people he sent cards to. Towards the end, the checks got fewer and fewer as old friends passed away or got too old to send cards. The box is undoubtedly something I looked at in the days after Dad’s funeral, weighed it’s usefulness and then tossed. 

    The probablem with throwing things away is feeling nostalgic and wanting to hold them again.

    • whollyjeanne

      Oh Sugar. We can’t keep everything, and I know how we’re supposed to let go and all that, but still . . . what we wouldn’t give to have some things back within reach. This is such a beautiful story. Promise you’re writing. Promise.

  3. Julie Daley

    Oh! I had the exact same recipe box when I was a young mother. What memories flooded back when I opened your post…memories of when the children were young and I actually used it to cook. 

    • whollyjeanne

      It does not surprise me one little bit that we had the exact same recipe boxes. Delight me? Absolutely. But surprise me? Not at all. When the children went off to college, I made them a cookbook, penning their favorite recipes and a few tips and tricks, in my handwriting. Now, as my friend Deborah says, I’m in food assembly. And only when I have to be.

  4. Melissa

    My mom passed away when I was 13, but 22 years and 20+ moves later, I still have her old, battered metal recipe box (same style, but solid yellow with flowers) with a bunch of her recipes in it.  Every now and then I’m amazed how similar our handwriting is.  I’m also amused at the recipes I keep in there, since there are a lot of them I don’t even like! 😉

    It’s so wonderful how something so seemingly small and simple as a little metal recipe box, can have such depth of meaning to so many…

    • whollyjeanne

      I get goosebumps reading this, Sugar. I’m so glad you have the recipe box, and even gladder that you have recipes in her handwriting. There’s just something about holding a piece of paper covered with a loved one’s handwriting. Interesting that your handwriting resembles your mother’s.

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Hey, Sugar! I'm Jeanne Hewell-Chambers: writer ~ stitcher ~ storyteller ~ one-woman performer ~ creator & founder of The 70273 Project, and I'm mighty glad you're here. Make yourself at home, and if you have any questions, just holler.

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