Pinning Dreams On a Bulletin Board

Three years of living in a one- bedroom apartment in downtown Denver was coming to an end. The demands for planning, patience, and muscle were not something I looked forward to. More importantly, moving meant closing the door on a place I had loved to call home. I began the task gloomily.

With the help of a good friend, the couch-bed, oak dresser, and appliances disappeared quickly through the narrow hallways (although not without a certain amount of ``watch your fingers'' and grunts).

Boxes were next. Loaded with books, papers, and an assortment of ``gee, I might need this someday'' items, the boxes caused nearly as much trouble as the couch.

With the boxes nearly gone, I announced, ``Break time!'' My friend smiled in agreement as we made our way through a scattering of packaging tape and dust balls. ``Water will have to do for now,'' I said. The lemonade disappeared in an earlier box.

We leaned back on the counter, drinking heartily. Resting his cup on his belt, my friend nodded at the wall and inquired, ``Are we taking that?'' Turning, I grimaced. On the wall, covered with a glorious collage, was my pride and joy. The 5-by-6-foot homemade bulletin board stared back gently at us - its hundreds of tacks and pins obediently holding everything I had found of interest over the past years.

I gave a sheepish ``yes.''

Setting his empty cup on the counter, my friend approached the board. His fingers reached out randomly and found a quote: ``He who isn't busy being born, is busy dying.''

My friend said, ``You take care of this monster - I'll handle the boxes.''

I stood alone, amazed. How could I forget to pack my bulletin board? It seemed to burst with life - or how I viewed life. With shrugged shoulders, I approached the board with box in hand. Tacks began flying. It wasn't long before my thoughts joined them in flight.

Down came Walt Whitman's tribute to Lincoln, ``O Captain! My Captain!'' which demanded just one more reading. A postcard from my brother's visit to Costa Rica found the bottom of the box. A picture of me with a hefty fish from the summer of 1991 begged to tell the story just one more time. And the photo of a friend no longer with us brought a tear to my eyes; memories went racing....

My older brother once said you could tell the personality of an individual by what he had on his bulletin board. Maybe it was those words that inspired the weekly clippings from periodicals, the display of cherished pictures, and the hanging of quotes and thoughts.

Eisenhower's words on leadership joined Whitman's in the box. A favorite cartoon went tumbling. A photo of a grandfather I never met was studied again. Dog tags from a best friend brought a lump to my throat.

My fascination with all that was in front of me came as a surprise.

My eyes hungrily absorbed every detail. These bits and pieces of yesterday had been seen a zillion times, but I was looking at them with the eyes of a newcomer.

I was pondering these thoughts when my friend entered the room. Soaked in sweat, he looked at the half-cleaned bulletin board and chuckled. ``Kind of like old scrapbooks and photo albums, huh? Some things just can't be done quickly,'' he said. The smile I returned admitted my guilt. I vowed not to dwell on any more items.

But written advice from my parents tugged at my heart. And then there was the quote from Tennyson's ``Ulysses,'' ``I cannot rest from travel; I will drink life to the lees.'' What charge this brought me! The simple words evoked dreamy thoughts of future travels.

It occurred to me then how magnificent a bulletin board is. It traps and holds ideas and thoughts long enough for us to understand them, and, ultimately sends our minds racing away with newborn thoughts.

These bulletin boards, these simple cork-on-plywood ``monsters,'' become an extension of ourselves, broadcasting our dreams, our beliefs, our sorrows, and our heritage.

All this and more is there for anyone who wishes to stop and enter our reality. But bulletin boards aren't there to benefit others. Refreshingly, they are always there to serve us, acting as a mirror and encouragement.

With the help of my patient friend, the screws released the board from the wall and the board found its way to the truck. We checked the load one more time and jumped into the cab.

A smile crossed my face. This unenviable task of moving had suddenly become tolerable, almost a joy. Thoughts of old friends, future travels, and former homes kept my spirit light. I realized I wasn't leaving my old apartment entirely. With the help of my bulletin board, I was taking the best of it with me.

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