Tidying up the music room I’m determined to deal with each unpacked box as I come to it. Don’t just move it somewhere else, but find a place for the contents, even if that place is another box that goes to the thrift store or the burn barrel. This is not the last of several boxes of cards and letters my mom kept from 1977 through 1999. I brought them home when she died in 2006 and I’ve gone through them a little at a time. They’re time capsules.
I spent a few hours sorting this box, making piles to burn, keep, or send to my stepsister or kids or cousins. And as I reflect on these old hand written messages, I’m tempted to pull yet a few back from burning.
We seldom write or keep correspondence today, sent through the mail. Social media has taken the place of hand written letters. Letters, to me, are treasures of my family’s development, markers of growing together through life stages and historical events, signs of what was happening in my country and how people felt about it.
Reflecting on why Mom kept these, why they mattered to her, why they still matter to me, takes time. I don’t take it lightly. Here’s a short list of some things I like from this box of treasures.
- that Mom’s best friend’s cards and mine have the same style. No wonder and I’m named for her, too.
- photos that I can hold and touch, not on my computer screen
- my parents, our family, and their friends have a hilarious sense of humor
- letters from my kids when they were very young to their grandparents
- memorial cards from Grandma’s funeral, and those of other relatives who grew old
- wedding and graduation announcements and thank you notes
- cursive hand writing, like hearing the sender’s voice speaking to me, I recognize the characters
- newspaper clippings with pictures and stories of my son and my parents
- my favorite uncle’s signature initials in beautiful cursive or like our family’s ranch brand
- my history, even the uncertain times and secrets, and all the love shared through letters
- news and notes and jokes from all my aunts and uncles and many many of my parents’ friends
- when people sent letters to say they have nothing new to tell, but wanted to remind us they love us
Today, no surprise, a friend brought me another letter with photos from 1976. I had to take time to think and feel about crafting this writing because after I sorted the letter and photos, making one of the stacks for a cousin, he called. He told me that another cousin’s wife died that day. She died while I was reading through the box of cards and letters, and her memorial will be on Mom’s birthday Saturday. Things like this happen to me often enough that I don’t even question the connections any more. I’m just happy that I am aware and that I recognize what a treasure my gift of connections is. All we have to do is pay attention. This experience was designed to happen the way it did.
In Writing 101 from Blogging U we were assigned to write and post a list, and in another assignment to select one word from a list of six and use it as a prompt. This posts meets both those assignments.