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Tiptoe Through My Treasures

By Betsy Yung

June 8, 2012

So, I think everyone, no matter their age or financial or health status has a little box or knitting case or, as in my case, an actual case (the kind used by make-up artists or home-care workers with the trays that pull up and out to display their contents) that contains various odds and ends that define their lives and time on earth. A bit of a time capsule with a small portal to the past.

My treasure box is littered with things that I now label mentally as "BI," before infection, "BD," before diagnosis and "EE," everything else. Weird, huh? In any case, I've decided to clean out my treasure box and share its contents here in my blog. Not only will it be cathartic for me. It will tell anyone who stumbles in a bit more about who I am and who I have been.

Once opened, the box is next to me on the bed with Charlie, my best little pal nearby. He's looking on with disgust, having just gotten a bath, his mood isn't all it could be today.

Here is the contents of the first upper tray:

  • Two hospital bracelets, yellowed and not easy to read, one much smaller than the other. These from January 2, 1984 when my daughter was born by C-section at 6:09 p.m.
  • A tiny, red plastic treasure chest containing all but a couple of my daughters baby teeth. Ew, right? I was the tooth-fairy after all.
  • Two metal dash plaques from the ninth and tenth annual Route 66 Rendezvous, 1998 and 1999. I was also there in 2000 and 2001 with my own 1970 El Camino SS. I do miss that car now. Sigh.
  • A very old black and white photo button of Tara Wertz, one of my first riding students accepting a blue ribbon in her first walk-trot class on my old equitation horse Mutiny Sweet Charity. This was a regional win at the Morgan Medallion Classic in Santa Barbara perhaps the year was 1978? I was very proud.
  • A half dozen exhibitor buttons from the Morgan Grand National and World Championship Horse show, spanning the years from 1976 to 1984 as well as one lone button from California State Fair Horse Show dated 1980.
  • A random button I used to wear that proclaims "I don't get mad, I get even." Carbon dating might reveal the year as 1985.
  • A nice red patch from the American Bowling Congress crowning the 1995-96 Mixed League Champions as well as an award patch from the ABC for my first scratch 700 series. Whooooo Hoooo! That's right ... the girl can bowl!
  • Two laminated business-type cards, circa 1978, each suggests in polite script that the reader should "Kindly go fuck yourself."
  • Finally there are eight plastic credit-style cards. Each bears a little poem or proclamation about the importance of friends and the message that I am among the best. All of these were given to me by Vince over our eight years together. We did have some great times together. Now he won't answer or return my calls.

Funny how AIDS changes people and the way they relate to you. Either they try too hard to act like it makes no difference or they avoid you altogether. In order to keep people comfortable, I try to just be who I've always been. It's hard because I'm not who I was before. I'm a version of me that has a terminal illness that almost guarantees me a solitary future. I'm the me that hits the pharmacy twice a week for medicine to keep me alive while I hope for a cure.

An old me put all these things in my treasure box.

A new me is taking them out.

More in the next tray, some of it junk. Not really sure why I've kept so much weird stuff. More tomorrow.

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See Also
More Personal Accounts of Women With HIV/AIDS


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My Evil Hitchhiker

Betsy Yung

Betsy Yung

Just your average, hard-working, middle-aged lady living with AIDS and making the best of it.

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