The Suitcase

This story depicts the grief of losing your suitcase on a trip….

My friend recently told me a story about her daughter, an international business traveler, and the loss of her suitcase on a trip to England.  My friend described the frenzy of such a loss, the unfairness of the airlines and how many things in the valise had no real price tag.  One of the items lost was a personal journal of her daughter’s escapades.

lost_suitcaseI have been musing over this story in a whimsical kind of way.  What if suitcases carried a GPS that tracked the many miles they traveled?  People are aware of the distances from one place to another, but suitcases are not…what if they were?

Any of us who have purchased a beautiful new piece of luggage sparkling with zippers, tags and exteriors of many colors take pride in its appearance.  No dents on the outside, no gouges on the edges or broken wheels that no longer work.  Each of us check in at the airline counter and literally hand over this object filled with our personal things to a total stranger. The flight clerk is usually friendly as she weighs the suitcase and places it carefully on the conveyer belt behind her post.

Then it disappears until we claim it at our destination.  At least that is the way it is supposed to work!  I have never permanently lost luggage but have gone to retrieve it with broken parts, deep scratches and a cherished, special nametag no longer attached.  Though such an experience is challenging, literally losing my bag would be devastating.

But in my friend’s daughter’s case, the suitcase vanished and is still missing as I write this story.  Where did it go? Is a good question!

So let’s design a suitcase that will not get lost.  Perhaps build in a voice- activated system that knows its destination.  For example, as the agent puts the tracing tag on the outside of the case, she records the city destination speaking into a small recorder box.  As the valice travels it keeps saying,” I am going to Milwaukee” in an audible tone so that there is no chance it could escape and go elsewhere.

Then, if it goes in the wrong direction, a very aggressive voice would yell ”Hey you baggage man…I am going to the wrong place!”   What do you think?


About the Author

Maryann Hartzell-Curran, a retired educator and counselor, has written a personal account of her journey through the first year of grieving the loss of her husband in her book, “From We to Me,” to help support those who have suffered the loss of a loved one.
Maryann founded a successful family therapy practice and taught in the public and private sectors. She also founded and directed a church-based preschool in Lombard, Ill., and gained experience working with the elderly as director of a senior dining center. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in counseling from Illinois Benedictine University.

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