The Lost Things

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 value.    

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? 

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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: The Lost Things

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Lost Things

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 value.    

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: , ,

6 Comments:

At February 10, 2012 at 1:02 PM , Anonymous Beverly Diehl said...

They prolly won't be in a trunk, tied with yellow ribbon, but on a flashdrive. A FaceBook page. Or whatever the new "thing" is.

I have an old "autograph" album that belonged to my grandmother, signed by her classmates and family, some in German, some on English, in 1904. And some toys and knickknacks. Sometimes it seems like a lot of stuff, and sometimes, hardly anything.

 
At February 10, 2012 at 8:00 PM , Anonymous Booguloo said...

All I'll have for my kids and grand kids are a flash drives full of writings and pictures.

 
At February 11, 2012 at 5:09 AM , Anonymous jaum said...

One of my favorite pieces. Loved the following:

"And that’s the beauty of it all; finding memories you thought were long gone. Sitting there for years, forgotten, the lost things gain value."

You have a talent for saying so much in a few elegantly chosen phrases.

 
At February 11, 2012 at 6:48 AM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading, Beverly. I'm trying to organize all this paperwork over the summer.

 
At February 11, 2012 at 6:49 AM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

I think we'll miss the letters, no? Thanks for reading.

 
At February 11, 2012 at 6:49 AM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

I'm going to spend some snowy weekends getting all AEs letters organized - I never realized what a story they told.

 

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