Lazy Afternoon Reruns: “The Boxes in the Attic: A Love Story”

They’re these low, wide boxes that the Paperback Book Club used to send shipments of four or five books at a time. They’re sturdy and durable, and they hold tabloid newspapers and 13″ x 18″ posters laying flat. They’re perfect.

Today, these boxes languish and collect dust for most of the year in the back of the storage space in our attic— until some glint of a memory nags me badly enough that I have to go upstairs and dig out the item on my mind. At a time before internet bookmarking and favorites, I used to tear out pages from magazines and newspapers and keep them. Even though I near-refused to read what my teachers assigned me in school, my habit of devouring periodicals never dulled, nor waned. Whether from Rolling Stone or Ray Gun, Mother Earth News or Acoustic Guitar, the Village Voice or the Montgomery Advertiser, if I found something I wanted to access again, I put it in one of those boxes. Sometimes whole issues, other times just pages. No underlying raison d’etre, no long-range intentions, no meticulous organization, no finely tuned system— just pages and pages in those boxes.

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