America Comes in Shipping Boxes

I read a story once about this girl who leads a pretty messed up life (because how interesting would the book be if she was completely normal, right?), and how when she finally grows out of foster care she becomes an artist.  Her method is to decorate suitcases with paraphernalia that represent all the different stages in her life.  In her case, each suitcase more or less represented each foster home, and each foster home came during a peak season of her adolescence, and also contributed to it.  I thought it was really boring to read about at the time, the description of everything in these suitcases and what everything meant, but later I came to appreciate the ingenuity.

I got to wondering about America, and all of the shipping boxes that have gone out of this country during all of the different times.  It would be a cool museum display to have a bunch of them set up with the contents pouring out of them and set up all around them.  Each one would represent the time that it came from.


Like the founding of our country.  It would be a wooden crate filled with supplies for gold-mining, all of which wound up being useless when it came to starting a colony.  Or giant containers fitting to the periods of time that they would have come from, full of everything that would have been needed during that particular war.  Muskets and funny-looking hats and candles for the Revolutionary War.  Boots and paper and little sacks of coffee for the Civil War.  Ponchos and cigarettes and magazines for Vietnam.  You could go on and on coming up with what those shipping boxes would have held.

They would have crossed the ocean in the bellies of giant ships that spent months at sea.  Can you imagine spending months at sea?  The thought alone makes me start to freak out a little bit.  Talk about being claustrophobic.  You would literally have no where to go.  They would have been shipped across the country in the beds of wagons or by train.  They would have been dropped out of the sky with parachutes attached to them- giant shipping boxes floating like presents down from the sky.  Even just the many ways that they travelled speaks of the history of the time.  Even just the material that they were made out of would as well.  All of it comes together to speak of the developments, the advancements, the improvisations of people from eras that are so far beyond our imagination.

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