When I changed my Facebook profile picture this week, I had a few questions. Like what in the heck is that shoebox tied up with a big purple ribbon all about?
It's all about Junk Poker.
When we were very little and shared the Sleeping Porch as our bedroom, my sister and I created a game. I remember it vividly, so what if she doesn't? I was older. I get to elaborate on the memories. So I'm telling the story: we played Blackjack with our "treasures." We hid the shoeboxes under our beds. We took them out during nap-times (every day of the summer to escape the heat and survive polio- but that's another story).
In my upcoming novel, Glory and her big sister play Junk Poker. In fact, I first titled the book Junk Poker, way back when I first began writing it. Back then, it was a short story narrated by an adult caregiver, who also happened to be the organist/ wedding planner/ maker of tissue paper carnations for the First Baptist Church. What can I say? The story has evolved. Have you never started with one idea and come up with something completely different?
New title, new genre, new characters.
But Junk Poker and the shoebox survived.
Inside my box is my prized possession. I thought it was lost until I rediscovered a manila envelope tucked in the bottom of an old footlocker from Camp Skyline Ranch. The trunk had traveled many miles since my Mentone, Alabama days. When it finally fell apart in our last move, I salvaged the envelope.
I found corsages from old boyfriends, a photograph of my dad's Army jeep that I learned to drive on, and the best treasure of all: wallpaper from Elvis's house in Tupelo, Mississippi.
So that's what I shared in my Scholastic talk in New York. Green floral wallpaper from Elvis's childhood home, tucked into this Buster Brown shoebox just like Glory's, wrapped in a big purple ribbon. Why Elvis's wallpaper? You'll have to wait for Glory and her big sister to tell you...
Meanwhile, it's only fitting that my Junk Poker box serves as my new Facebook profile picture.