Last week began with yet another project, this one to sort out the large box of letters, clippings, cards, keepsakes, and every manner of memorabilia I have stashed away over the years. I come from a family of letter writers, and also from a time of letter writing, which of course seems rather vintage from the vantage point of the end of 2014. Nevertheless, I wrote, my family wrote, and a myriad of friends and acquaintances gathered over the course of the years wrote to me, too. And every one of those missives – card, letter, informal note, or hasty scrawl – resides in this big, heavy box.
The box is nicely organized, I will admit: sorted according to date and year. But of course, there are problems with the concept of the ‘box’ – I have moved it many times into a new abode, cursing its weight and not trusting it to movers – though, mostly, it is that I don’t open it often enough. And there is a treasure trove of stuff in there, indeed.
Unlike my collection of CDs and pictures, which were long ago digitized and happily reside in my laptop and back up hard drive, this collection proves rather difficult to reduce to a nice, neat, portable file. I am making the effort, however, because even a very organized box, when it consists of thousands of items, defeats the purpose for which these things were saved: to cherish them by reading them again, or just by looking at the ticket stubs, postcards, and other marvelous icons of a rich history.
So this is a winter project which shall take several months, no doubt because everything must be read and looked upon and pondered over. Fortunately, I suppose, there are sizable chunks of things that can be relegated to the recycle bin – the reason why some picture or clipping caught my eye long since forgotten and no longer seeming important. Most of it, though, is endearing and remarkable and oh so infinitely precious…
To all of you who have written me over the years, my warmest thanks. Every day of this particular project is a joy – I am laughing, crying, commiserating, celebrating, sharing, and loving you all over again. Your words were important then, but now as golden nuggets highlighting my own personal journey. What a gift you all were, and are, and what better time to acknowledge the wonder of friends and family? Words matter and I feel incredibly grateful for this vast pile of them, from you. I shall share only one, which is one of my favourites, and here it is, from an imaginary friend.