Suitcases have played an important role in my life. There have been two principal characters.
The first was a brown leather suitcase I used as a child. When we left Williamstown, Ontario and moved back to England I was given a suitcase and told to put all my things in it. I could take whatever would fit in that suitcase. So there I was at age 6, choosing my things, what to keep, what to give away.
I kept my black and white stuffed puppy and my copy of Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass which I had just been given for my 6th birthday by a little girl who lived down the road. It was a beautiful hard cover book, sort of pale yellow, with greenish black figures of all the characters from the story. And of course, color plates of John Tenniel‘s illustrations. …at least I think I kept my stuffed puppy, or maybe it didn’t fit – but I certainly carried it in my heart if not in my suitcase.
That brown leather suitcase became really important to me and every time we moved, I put my things in it. It was that suitcase that I gave to my friend for safe-keeping, years later, with all my poetry and stories inside.
For the past 13 years I’ve been using a different suitcase. A big, blue canvas bag I bought in Hungary in 1999. It’s carried my things across the Atlantic 5 times, and certainly looks worse for the wear, yet I seem unable to part with it. Last year I started taking it to festivals, as it’s big and roomy enough to take all my camping gear – even a small tent – as well as a duvet and pillow!
It’s been patched more than once, and this time I used duck tape as I plan to retire it from trans Atlantic flights and buy something new for my next jaunt, something smaller. Something that will just carry a few essentials for a holiday rather than my whole life.
How about you? Do you have a favorite suitcase?
While you ponder that, here’s a video about a musical suitcase!