We moved to a new house over the summer. Invariably, that meant we not only had to unpack all the items from the small house we had lived in for the past several years; but also furniture and possessions that had been stored since we sold our (much larger) home in Tennessee.
If you’ve had a major move, you know that some unpacking can be tricky. It’s not just you moving to a different house, all of your things have to find a new place to live, too. Well, all the things you haven’t given away, sold, or thrown out.
Sentimental attachments are the most challenging things for me to deal with. It is the one area of my life where I might just be a hoarder. The thing is, some of my sentimental attachments are ridiculous–EVERY tee shirt that represents a fun memory doesn’t need to take up space in a drawer. That cool glass from a formal in college? Seriously? I didn’t drink out of it then, and I’m not about to stick it on a shelf now.
I finally got around to one of the last boxes a few weeks ago, and what I thought would take a few minutes ended up taking all day. Of course it did–
It was the Story of My Life in cards, letters, and mementos.
Dating back to my Y camp days in grade school, there were hundreds of letters and cards from the people who defined each era. I remembered every person they represented. I recognized their handwriting even before reading the closing. Some of these letters are over 45 years old.
Some were folded sheets of notebook paper that had been passed in class. (Are you lucky enough to remember? Do kids even do that anymore?)
A few were super-sized cards.
Every single one of them represented a special relationship, a sweet friendship, the kind of knowing and intimacy we all long for, that sometimes we take for granted or forget when we get older.
Some of these friends hold my oldest and sweetest memories. Some are vaults for secrets I no longer remember. I’m thankful a few are still in my life, though geography and life trajectory means we aren’t necessarily close any more.
I “visited” college friends and friends who shared my life BK (before kids). There were thank you cards, encouragement cards, and “I’m glad we’re friends” cards.
I meandered the five-year off-again/on-again relationship I had with my husband. We just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.
Reading his words (and mine, he had saved all my cards and letters, too), I was transported back in time and could literally feel what I felt all those years ago. I remembered things I had long forgotten: he called me his little brown-eyed girl; I called him my little blue-eyed boy. Were we ever really that sickeningly gah-gah?? (yes, we were 🙂 )
That box might as well have been bedazzled in gold and brilliant gemstones–the treasure it held, priceless.
And then a lightning bolt struck:
Everything in that box was before the internet.
Oh! I hope you’ll click over to continue reading The Gift of a Lifetime at The Art of Simple today.
(I’m trying so hard to practice what I preach…)
I’m like you. I save all written correspondence that people send me. I even have some from men I met on a mission trip to maximum security prison. Call me crazy, but I save emails & some texts. I love looking back at them & seeing what people had to say. I totally agree that young children should be taught to save hand written notes. They should be taught to send hand written notes to older people. They will enjoy reading them over and over.
Happy New Year May 2018 be a great year!!
I don’t think I’ve ever re-read an old email, even if it was special. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a place for it…just not my personal practice (basically, I forget!!) :).