• John Fiorella


Sundays we ate at Grandpa's, where the kitchen sang with laughter and the smell of cutlets blessed the parlor. Hours were spent wrestling Harley through the house until his monstrous tail would knock something over and we'd be sent to wash up.

Dinner was no less chaotic. Plates of sausage, rigatoni, and olive salad were traded across the table as if it were the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. To an outsider it must've looked like a circus, with a dozen loud voices all talking in unison. But this was our Sunday – a time to share news, swap jokes, and re-tell old stories that no one ever got tired of re-telling.

When our plates were finally clear, we'd ask permission to be excused, prickling with anticipation of what would follow. With sauce-stained shirts we took to the floor, all eyes on Grandpa as he disappeared into the bedroom.

His return prompted cheers as he carried with him The Junk Box, a treasure trove of magical trinkets. There were gold keys, ruby rings, marbles, charms, whistles, watches, bottle caps, bracelets, and at least one plastic soldier that looked like he'd already been to war and back. Were these relics from a forgotten age or merely scraps left out to rust? Our imaginations ran wild as the splendors of the box were dumped in a pile for us to enjoy, and with it, a loving reminder that “One man's junk is another man's treasure.”