Henry Westray Jr.



I’m tired of boxes….being boxed in, boxed out, boxed down, and boxed up. I’ve even grown weary of wearing boxer shorts that always bunch up in odd places, box springs that hurt like hell, litter boxes that smell, cable boxes that don’t work half the time, Cracker Jack boxes with lousy toys and only two nuts in them, and people who put you into tight boxes. I just finished reading this book, of course it’s called, The Three Boxes Of Life and How to Get out of Them. But what about that ever present fourth box. That’s the one that really boxes you in. My parents told me that I was born by the river, not in a little tent as in the song, but found in a tiny box by the sea. They later assured me that I had really been won in a breakfast cereal box contest. Delivered in a small box, after they had sent in a hundred box tops. From a military family, it seemed that I was raised in a box car, for we moved every six months. Our lives were constantly on the move, in and out of boxes. When the army shipped us to England, I thought that British Boxing Day, was not the first weekday after Christmas when boxed gifts were given to the postman, but a holiday to go out and collect boxes for the next move. If there were a world box cup competition, I know I would win, for I can put a box together in 6.5 seconds flat. Take it apart in three! When I went off to college, the last thing my mother handed me was, you guessed it, the same old metal lunch box with a note inside telling me to remember to please return this box. Our family dog, a boxer named Dudley, was so scared he couldn’t box his way out of a paper box if he tried! The worst thing about boxes is that you may be in one and not even know it. So, I’ve formed STCUB, the Society To Cut Up Boxes. My hope is that the last box you ever encounter in life, you’ll be too dead to notice that you’re in it. By the way, is anyone interested in buying a used Volvo? I’m selling mine…

Just too boxy!

© Henry Westray Jr.

Henry Westray Jr. is an African-American native of Maryland whose family lived in the Flag House Projects in Baltimore, before as a teenager, moving to a middle class predominantly white neighborhood on the outskirts of the city. In 2012, he retired from the Maryland State Government after over thirty years in public service, as a Social Work and Mental Health therapist and Administrator. He has taught at several Universities, been the host of an award-winning cable TV show, and is an author.  Westray has published several articles on public health issues, such as Suicide, Youth Violence Prevention, and Domestic Violence. He was commissioned by the Harvard University’s Field Notes Journal, to write an article titled “The Faces of Fear.” Henry’s poetry and short stories, which he has written over a very full lifetime, will be included in an anthology due out in 2020.

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