In the last couple months, my in-laws have gradually been clearing out their basement. (When they get done, I suspect they will be drinking champagne.) Since the basement is full of not only their own stuff, but stuff belonging to their kids, it's been a long process of sorting and pitching and storing and cleaning.
Last Thursday when I was in Ohio, my father-in-law mentioned that he'd found a recipe box. Thanks to his mother, his wife, and to a lesser degree me, he knew he'd be a dead man without TRYING to track down the owner. So he wanted to know if it was familiar to me.
He brought it upstairs, and I didn't recognize it. But I know, myself, the value of family recipes. So I flipped it open and riffled through, and damn if it's not full of my own grandmother's handwriting.
Apparently it was mine.
I have no memory of so much as SEEING this recipe box before, ever, let alone putting it in my in-laws' basement. But who else would have? Even if the husbeast or his parents physically placed the box in the basement, I'm the one who would have handed it to any of them. Ditto, my in-laws hardly allow just anyone to wander through their house without their knowledge, storing stuff in their basement. (In fact, the only person who has access to MY family's stuff and THEIR house is, well, me.)
I've got a few theories. My mother and maternal grandmother both died of long illnesses within about five months of each other. (I have always thought my mother hung on to take care of her mother.) I was living in Hawaii at the time, and that year flew enough miles (all between Ohio and Honolulu) to circle the earth twice. I figure at some point I put the recipe box in the basement and was too stressed, jet-lagged, exhausted, and upset to remember it.
At any rate, I was pleased to find the recipes. For ten years, I've been looking for my grandmother's recipe for chocolate pie. It's not in my mother's recipe boxes (I do have those, and have moved them around with me for ten years). I assume the recipe is not among my mother's things because my mother had it memorized. She was always notorious for not writing things like that down.
The one drawback? Sometime or other, that recipe box was dropped. The interior is a disaster. I've been poking through it for a week, and still don't know if the recipe is in there. But I've had a fine time flipping through, remembering some foods and complaining to the spirit of my grandmother about how she never made others for me.
With luck, the pie recipe will yet turn up. I'll publish it, if it does.