Mom was a packrat. When she left this world for a better place we found many pieces of her love tucked away in boxes and drawers. Five years later I finally had the courage to venture into an old desk which I remember her using from when I first became aware of my surroundings. If those who have gone before us can truly “see” everything, I am finally going to establish hereditary blame, targeting my Mom, for my penchant for keeping scraps of paper, old magazines, and news clippings well beyond their immediate importance.
To sum up the experience of exploring this archive, is to admit to wishing I had done it while Mom was still physically with us to identify the faces in the photographs, negatives, and slides, and to place old magazine articles with familiar names in context. Besides such random items as the address of a college sweetheart, recipes, boxes of unsent cards, a paw print from some remembered family pet, what struck me most were the documented interactions of my parents through letters.
In this electronic age of emails, tweets, texts, and the delete button I suspect many of our younger folks will fully experience the joy of finding well written and formal correspondence tucked inside a shoebox. Letters with my mother’s maiden name and return addresses from places I never knew she lived, caught my eye. Even letters between my Mom and her sister, with both sender and recipient identified by their shared maiden name took me to that special place where our elder generation reminds us that they were once just as human as I , and every bit as emotional, impulsive, and explorative as are so many young people.
So this year for Thanksgiving I have cleanup up this old desk. I have wrapped up the letters and trinkets, selected just a few of the treasured items for sharing, and doing my best to remember that Thanksgiving is truly sharing that goes beyond the trimmings.
If my family and friends take the time to read this, or if you stumble on this brief “paper” through an online search, I ask that you pick up the phone, send an email, or better yet write a real letter to someone you have missed or not seen for awhile. Take just a few moments of your life to reach out and just be a friend to someone else. Five years after my Mom passed away, what she has left behind has touched and reminded me of all her gifts and when I share those gifts I am truly thankful and grateful.