Cleaning out the trunk of the’86 Honda Accord provided very little information. No big clues or insight was expected to be gained about the man. He often spent time arranging items in the trunk, as well as the glove compartment and I never knew what he was doing. I hoped to one day find some leads into his silent world. Talking with him would not provide information, only tears.
In the basement was stored a filing cabinet and some containers. Much time was spent down there as well, organizing articles that he meticulously sliced out of the newspaper to only make notes, circle sentences, and then write down information in his Steno pad. Strategies that newspaper men used long ago. But, why was he doing this now? He was retired. Eventually the articles would journey with him to the basement.
My mother would tell him in her unique way that “he had too much junk. He needed to clean out the filing cabinet. He had too many papers down there and paper attracts bugs.”
She was one who did not want to have too much around the house for us to clean out when they were gone. She cleaned out her father’s house when he passed and that just presented problems among siblings. It always does.
So, in the boot of my father’s car was a old box half-filled with papers and books. The papers were bound copies of his journal that he kept as a prisoner of war. He shared the book with many people as well as a high school teacher who used it in his history class. Also, the box contained a clue! It was something I did not expect to see, a faded book entitled How to Write a Book. I stared at the book and tears began to fall.