Over the past month some people have been clearing out the space we use at work to store extra library shelving. I went over there the other to see how things were going. All the shelving was gone, which enabled me to notice a couple of large boxes tucked away up high.
They’d obviously been there for a long time, at least ten years. Probably more like twenty. There were labels on some of them, indicating that they’ve been shipped from Holland. Picture if you will my curiosity-meter spiking right at that moment.
So of course it was impossible for me not to pull the boxes down. And once they were down I saw that they were already open. And once I realized they were already open I saw that they were full of…
Little bottles of alcohol. Lots of little bottles of alcohol. From all over the world. Some had labels I couldn’t read, either because they’d faded or because they were in a language I don’t recognize. But the others…Scotch, Irish Whiskey, Gin, Vodka, and even little bottles of beer. None of the bottles I saw were open, but some of them had evaporated. That’s how long they’d been there.
At least two of the boxes appeared full of these. The others were full of little trinkets, incredibly clever devices meant to store – or perhaps secret – tiny bottles of alcohol. Most were ceramic and some were porcelain. They were painted by hand and seemed quite delicate, though I’m sure my impression was more about being worried that I’d break one.
The only one I felt comfortable handling was a tiny windmill that despite its size was capable of housing any of the small bottles of alcohol, and also had a wind-up music box that also made the mill rotate. It was amazing.
I’m not entirely clear why these were in storage or why anyone had sent them to the library. I didn’t want to give them up, though. I didn’t want to tell anyone about the boxes. They were such a cool find, not the alcohol as much as the little trinkets. They were so cool and so obviously not American and it would have been great to really be able to look through those on my own time. But such is the nature of work.