I have two trunks in my bedroom where I stash things that
are important to me–a stack of my journals going back thirty-five years; cards
and artwork from my kids; a faded rose from when my son was in my brother’s
wedding. I have stacks of letters tied
in yellow ribbon; my grandparents’ wedding license; my great-grandfather’s
teacher’s license; report cards from the early nineteen hundreds. My passport’s in there, too, the one I
thought I’d lost.
Because things do get lost in trunks.
And that’s the beauty of it all; finding memories you
thought were long gone.
Sitting there for years, forgotten, the lost things gain
For years, I corresponded with my father’s aunt. She would type her letters on mimeograph
paper, addressing it with Dear Folks to
cover with one salutation all the people with whom she exchanged letters. Aunt Edna’s letters are full of errors: words
corrected with a backslash; words scratched out and corrected in pen; words unseparated
by a space; words missing an occasional letter.
When I was a teenager, I’d skim through these letters quickly, looking
for things that interested me, disregarding anything that mentioned people I
didn’t know; events I was unfamiliar with.
This morning our new
Pastor began his new ministry here. He
is rather tall, very thin, and preaches very loud…
Mr. K across the
street is a foreman at a steel mill in Massillon. The mills closed down for 2 months. Last week, I had wanted some dirt taken off a
block of cement at the west side of the house.
He came over and asked me if he could do it. He said that he was lost without his
work. I accepted his offer. He asked me where to put it. I have lived here for almost 2 years and that
is the first time I have ever spoken to him.
He has done so much for me. I
guess his shyness comes from being a prisoner of war for 4 years…
Occasionally, I wrote to my great-grandmother.
I was glad to get your
letter and to hear your wonderful news.
How happy you all must be about a new baby. There is nothing in the world any sweeter
than a new little baby in the home. I
know from experiences…
If I send you a
picture will you take it to your grandma to send it back to me when she
writes? Don’t forget.
And it’s this admonition don’t
forget that gets to me.
How much have I forgotten?
I send my husband an email and text my daughters to tell
them I’ll pick them up at school.
I log off my computer and shut it down.
And I wonder what treasures my children and my grandchildren
will put into their trunks, tied up with yellow ribbons and forgotten.
Years from now, what will they have to remember?
Labels: children, Creative non-fiction, memories