One Man’s Trash . . .

We have been organizing old family photos lately.  In doing so, we have been forced to go through countless shoeboxes, envelopes, and plastic tubs of items brought back from each of our parents’ homes.

In doing so, I have come across some of the things my mother kept and, I’m assuming, held dear:

  • A lock of hair in an envelope from my first haircut. I was blonde then. 
  • Hospital receipt from when I was born. It cost $53.70 in 1963.
  • The picture I drew my mother when I was five and she was deathly ill in the hospital. (When I saw it, I remembered tracing cookie cutters as my grandmother watched me color.)
  • My ‘Completion of First Day of School’ certificate. (No kindergarten for this kid; I went straight into first grade.)
  • Endless school award certificates. (No employer ever asked to see these so I will probably toss them now that I’m retired.)
  • A letter I wrote her from college.
  • Numerous letters I wrote after we moved away from Texas.

 This made me think of some of the mementos I hold on to from my own children.

  •  The locks of hair are in their baby scrapbooks but I did have their first baby teeth in a bag in my dresser for many years. They were kind of creepy to look at so I eventually tossed them.  (I think.)
  • Pictures they drew on green-bar paper when I would take them to the office and give them free reign of the conference room and snack bar.
  • The glass fish that hung from the mobile in their bathroom.
  • Graduation programs.
  • ANYTHING they wrote to me, even if it hurt at the time.

I recognize that most of these mementos will never be displayed for others to see.  But for me, these objects trigger memories of good times and, sometimes, hard times.  And even if they are only seen for a moment every few years, they evoke a sense of love.  Someone else will have to make the decision one day of what to do with them.

In a major reorganization of our attic this week, we brought down a box full of cards, gift lists, and other memorabilia from our wedding 32+ years ago.  We kept the garter, the groom’s cake decoration, and a few special notes.  There was no need for a stack of bulletins when one would suffice.  We read all the other cards and notes one last time before saying goodbye to them.  It was fun to relive the love we felt from friends and family and to pause over the many who have left this world.

I’m not good at saying goodbye to objects that have memories attached to them.  Looks like I got that from my mom.

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