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Master Lock and Memories

Author: Yonina Andrea K. Foster, Ph.D. 

I tell the widows’/widowers’ bereavement group in Cheektowaga (Hospice sponsored) the story about the Master lock and the box.

The empty cardboard box says Master Combination Padlock and costs $2.39 at College Park Hardware. That was near where my husband Steve attended University of Maryland in the 1970s. Don’t know when he purchased the lock. I found the box in a plastic basket with bike equipment after he died. I remembered seeing a Master lock upstairs among my husband’s things. Being part historian, I located it, brought the two together, confirmed the combination, put the lock in the box, and placed them in an archives container. Seemed fitting. For what, I didn’t know.

And now in Buffalo, I join the Jewish Community Center (JCC), back decades after leaving, never imagining I’d return. Growing up in Amherst I played racquetball, volleyball, swam, and was a lifeguard at the JCC on North Forest Road, even a Pool Director at Camp Centerland. While I prefer the outdoors, walking, hiking, playing, I will go inside at some point. So I find my way downstairs in the JCC (in the city) at Summer and Delaware to the locker room and look around. You still need locks. Some things haven’t changed. I am grateful. I think about that lock in the box.

Last night I went up to the attic, unlocked the cedar closet, found the archival container, removed the lid, and retrieved the lock. It now sits next to me as I type. You know how that cardboard paper with the combination has a hole in it, through the locking “u” that clicks when it’s locked? It’s there now. I won’t tell you the combination because, well, I must secure my things in the locker.

I’d like to think Steve is pleased at my resourcefulness. I am. Satisfied, sad, hopeful, beginning to unlock myself for my life in Buffalo. Maybe see you at the J.

Bereavement groups at Hospice Buffalo in Cheektowaga, 225 Como Park Blvd. Call (716) 686-8000. Whether your spouse died recently or quite some time ago, grief is an ongoing process. I encourage you to reach out for support.

JCC Jewish Community Center. Raquetball must be a thing of the past. Courts are being removed to make way for a large open gym. I still have my racket, however, and would love to play someplace. You game?

Buffalo Rising addendum:

Back in 2015, BRO posted an article about the possibility of building outdoor public squash and racquetball courts (see here). It would be great to see that dream come to fruition. Since that time, a public handball court has been built on the West Side (see here), but it would be great to see some outdoor racquet courts come onto the scene as well. 

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