A Box Full of Treasures

box and burn barrel
Treasure was shipped for Mom by a moving company, handled with care as labeled.

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.

I like

  • 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.

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7 thoughts on “A Box Full of Treasures”

  1. A thoughtful list — thank you for sharing it!

    P.S. I love that you got creative and made a list focused on these treasures. Just wanted to say, too, that I don’t want anyone to feel like they have to respond to every assignment each day. I’d rather people take their time and select the prompts they want to answer, and then save the other emails for a rainy day, for when they’re in need of inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very well done. I enjoyed reading it. We also found lots of cards and letters when we cleaned out my parents house when we moved them to assisted living.

    I think my mother saved every birthday or anniversary card they ever received from all five children and other relatives, including cards send to me when I was a kid from my grandparents. In fact, we found some that still had $2 bills in them, which they used to give me.

    Besides that, we found several hundred dollars in various places as we went through their stuff. Maybe my mother was saving it when she was getting Alzheimer’s.

    As you mentioned, it’s very interesting reading old letters, and we’ve saved many of them too. We also have many photos (and even slides) from my grandparents that I still need to go through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Doug, how about we give each other a challenge to once a month write a post inspired by some of our old letters or cards or photos. Let’s say month end, the last week of each month. Start this month. Tag each other in these posts.

      Liked by 1 person

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