Treasure/Photo Chest

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

This treasure chest stores hundreds of photos that my family has compiled over the course of decades. Whenever I feel especially nostalgic about the simplicity of the past, I walk into my living room, open the hatch of the chest, and grab a random pile of photos to look through. 

The most contemplative items that I find in that treasure chest are the letters that my parents exchanged while they lived a year apart. While my mother was pursuing an opportunity in the United States, my father stayed in the Philippines to tend to my older sister, who was then only a toddler. Something that indicates the clever thought process of my dad was how he wrapped his letters with clear tape so his messages could remain waterproof. My mother writes in dainty cursive: “I just mailed my first letter to you this morning, so you might be wondering why I’m writing a second one already. The truth is, this is my only hobby for when I’m missing you.” On thin, lined paper my mother’s concern for her child is evident: “You know how much I love her. She is a part of me,” she says. These letters are full of raw emotion of the present, worry for the future, and hope for a better reality. The fact that my parents kept these correspondences reminds me that they never forget the struggles that they had to overcome in order to get where we are today. This treasure chest remains steadfast; despite our eyes looking to the future, I can always turn to the item in the living room to get a glimpse of the past.

Place(s): Philippines

– Claudine Guerra

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant