Loretta's Box

Loretta – 202 Pairs of Shoes… None Needed In Heaven
Size: 11.5″w x 11.25″h x 6″d (including acrylic strip)

This box was assembled in celebration of my sister Loretta (#2 of 5 girls) – lost to a battle with Leukemia March 30, 2000.

I built the box right away – however, it took me five years to assemble the rest of the piece (the acrylic & pearls got me going again).

Box: Foam Core construction – the sides have windows cut out so that the contents can be seen from the sides and, if hung on a wall, it won?t look like a solid box. The box is covered with handmade paper (someone else?s hands). An additional design element was added to the top and down the back (also adds strength for hanging). Acetate covers the cut outs in the sides to reduce dust in the box.

Glass Front: I wanted to put glass over the front of the box to keep out dust. This is when the box “came together”. The front glass slides on top of the bottom strip of acrylic, fitting snuggly between the pearls and the front of the box.

Acrylic Strips: The top and bottom strips are 1/4″ acrylic salvaged from a business presentation. Two holes were drilled so screws could be inserted and glued thru the strip and into the foam core. Divots were drilled across the strip to cradle pearls taken from one of Loretta?s necklaces. 13 pearls on top (the two larger pears were the earrings) and bottom were glued in the divots to sit 1/8″ away from the front of the box to allow just enough room for the glass to slide in between.

Dimes: The top and bottom strips each have five dimes (significant to five girls) glued evenly across them (covering the two holes made for the screws. Dimes are significant in our family. It seems to be the item of choice for departed loved ones to signal they’ve been nearby. Bottom row 1949 – Birth Year – Top row 2000 – Year of her death.

The Story of Items
Picture: This picture was taken when Loretta visited my Mother on Fisher Island – a favorite place of hers to visit.

Shoes: We counted 202 pairs of shoes when we cleaned out her closet – each pair in a plastic or paper shoe box. Most boxes had a picture of the shoes on the outside. Some had a receipt on the inside showing how much of a good deal she got buying the shoes on sale 😉 These were my favorite pair of shoes; fabric covered in olive green – great heel.

Diamond Certificates: I cut up two of her diamond appraisal certificates and fit them inside the shoes. She was the only one of us five girls that graduated high school. We didn?t have much. I remember how proud she was to be able to afford a pair of diamond earrings.

Gucci Watch: What a hoot! We all had to have a one of these watches (or a facsimile) after she got one. Then, as they broke we passed the colored rings around.

Black Cat: Her solid black cat Irene was named after my Mother and had quite a personality.

Owls: Oh my goodness – she had a collection of owls.

Post Cards: These are copies of post cards she sent home when she & her husband visited Egypt and Paris while they were living/working in England. She was homesick. The writing on the back is quite witty. I copied the fronts of the cards for the box, keeping the original to re-read later.

Black and White Photo: Loretta as a young girl with her doll. I chalked the photo slightly, attaching wings to the back.

Celluloid Doll: Among many other things – Loretta had the tendency to collect old dolls in need.

Vintage Shoe Clip: Did I say she collected things? Vintage costume jewelry was another “thing”. She rescued single vintage shoe clips to repurpose as brooches. Some made it – some didn?t.

Perfume Bottle / Old Velvet Flowers: Loretta had a natural talent for decorating. This is her Lenox perfume bottle. She decorated her house with flowers and beautiful fabrics. Her office was also decorated with the things she loved.

Loretta's Box