Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Legacy of Memorabilia

A month or so ago I raided my mom's storage closets and brought home boxes and boxes filled with 50 years of photos and school papers and random memorabilia. I spent about three hours yesterday sifting through most of it and I found some really rad stuff. First off, my mother was born a scrapbooker and didn't even know it. I say scrapbooker, some people would say packrat. 

She has saved every card anyone has ever given her, even the generic ones where they just signed their names. These are the kinds of cards that I throw away. But as I flipped through these, sorting them into loose piles, I occasionally came across one signed by someone who was meaningful to me when I was young and I stopped to examine their signature and think of the hand that wrote it. And I understood why she saved them. She had the invitation for the shower her two best friends threw when she was pregnant with me, written in their handwriting. She had my grandmother's journal from the 1940's. She had a story my brother wrote when he was eight that made me laugh out loud. She had the announcement she and my dad sent out after they got married at 4 a.m. in Vegas. I think she might have saved every picture I've ever colored for her, and while they are totally useless to her now, it made me feel good to know that she valued them enough to save them. And I realized that even though I'm an adult, I'm still making pictures for her, my techniques have just improved and now I call them scrapbooks or cards. You never really grow out of making stuff for your mom, I guess. 

So that was a really cool experience. Getting a glimpse at my mom's life through the things that she thought special enough to save. Random newspaper articles and clothing tags. My grandmother had her own box filled with a lifetime's worth of letters, back in a time when people didn't sit down to a computer and type an impersonal email; they carefully smoothed a clean, white sheet of parchment and put their thoughts down on it, with great consideration of each word. It took time and effort and when you received a letter, you saved it. I don't even know the last time I received a real letter through "snail mail" which is a really derogatory title. I think the art of sending a handwritten letter is becoming extinct and that makes me a little sad. My Aunt Joan and my sister Elli are probably the only two people who still send me things. 

I could go on about this subject but I can hear Rowan through the baby monitor, awake and fussing and shaking the bars of his crib like a jailbird. 


  1. Sounds like my grandmother...she even saved her Sears catalogs. A few yrs ago my Mom convinced her to part with a lot of the "excess"-I even wish I had that now.. one mans junk is another mans ephemera!!

  2. How wonderful. I have boxes of love letters dh and I sent to each other 15 years ago.

    I think I should go and read them, to remember.

  3. I agree that the fine art of letter writing is leaving us with the use of email:( I do still hand-write letters to friends who do not live close by (it's much nicer than just reading coomputer font)!
    Sue Clarke


I adore reading your comments; they bring sunshine to my day. Thanks for reading!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...