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Objects with history: Object #1. "The music box" by Malena Lau


2019 was an especially sad year for our family.


In April, after 13 years of company, love and so many other beautiful things that her presence brought into our family, we let our beloved Sasha go.


A year before, unexpectedly we also said goodbye to Misha. Doubly beaten by the loss of our 2 faithful companions, that year like never before, we traveled abroad to distract ourselves, avoid reality and get away from everything that momentarily reminded us of Sasha.


In one of those trips, we decided to visit my Aunt Julia who lives in New Canaan, CT, very close to NY. Before our arrival, it occurred to us that we should take the kids to Manhattan, spend the day and get lost in its streets. It was in one of them that we found a nice little shop with a window full of curiosities. There were many wooden music boxes, one more beautiful than the other. But among them, one in particular caught my attention.




A couple of dolls, holding onto a bright red umbrella, were accompanied by 2 little dogs and a bird that revolved around them to the sound of music. I was sadly fascinated and enraptured looking at that box. Virgilio, my husband, immediately understood what that box reminded me of, and while the song “Memories” from Maroon 5 was playing, he decided to buy it as a present for me.


Our two children also saw our family personified in those wooden figures. So, for them, the central couple holding the umbrella, were mom and dad. The 2 little dogs spinning around them, were Sasha in the lighter wood color, and Misha in the darker one. There was only one character left and the one-billion-dollar question: "Mom, and who of us 2 is the little bird?"


To avoid confrontations and the storm that I saw coming if I decided on one or the other, I replied “no one!, It´s just a little bird”.

Not satisfied with my answer, and insisting on naming one of them as the little bird, I came up with the brilliant idea to please them both.


To each one, at different times and in secret, I whispered the same:


"Of course, the little bird is you, Lena."

"Of course, the little bird is you, Gael."


Both were happy and satisfied with that confession that officially accredited them at that time, as "El Pajarito"(the little bird in Spanish).



Two years later, having forgotten about my duplicated secret, I decided to apply to your "Objects with history" call with my wooden box.

As I turned the music box on, while looking at it trying to figure out the best angle to take some photos and send them to you, it was that the memory of my kids got activated. Listening to the melody, they both ran into my room and I had to face my short legged truth / lie.


Gael the elder, inmediately assaulted me:


-I'm the bird, right mom !?

-No Gael, the little bird is me! " a strong-voiced Lena replied, asserting her rights.


Thus, they were mutually claiming to be "the real little bird", and me in the middle, feeling guilty, without wanting to put myself in evidence, or being able to calm them down. Suddenly Gael in a tone of total provocation, gave his sister a consolation prize:


"Well then Lena, since I am THE BIRD, if you want to, you could be the red umbrella ..."


I thought I would hear an outright cry of denial, and the usual sobs, like every time my kids can't agree, and frustration wins the battle over Lena and gives into her annoying brother´s speech. But after a brief silence, a calmed "ex-little bird" responded with total maturity and conformity:


"It's fine! I'm going to be the red umbrella, because Mom and Dad are holding on to it, and it´s like it was me, holding onto their hands. "


It was the most beautiful metaphor that my 6-year-old girl could have come up with, and also, I was happy to realise that we were all finally at peace, with our entire family, represented in that little music box, turning to what I later found out was not the song "Memories" by Maroon 5, but the Baroque piece "The Canon" by Johann Pachelbel.


I felt so bad for having wiped Pachelbel ´s autorship, that I thought appropriate to watch a 15-minute video where I learned how this beautiful piece was created and became so worldwide-famous throughout the ages, to the point that a pop group borrowed it to record their hit, managing to confuse me.

But hey, that will be another story.



Malena Lau

October 2021

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