Cherished Words

I'm a self-diagnosed pack rat, but there are times every once in awhile when I like to weed through all my accumulated stuff and clear some of it out. This is always a difficult chore, though, because my keepsakes are like a time capsule to the past. I hold an old photograph I took in my high school photography class and I remember how you could always find me toting around my mom's old 35mm. Or I look at a trinket my best friend bought me in 5th grade and reminisce about how our gifts have evolved from toys and trinkets to good meals and long conversations.

Today, I found myself wading through a pile of old cards given to me over the years. Birthday cards. Christmas cards. Valentine's Day. Easter. St. Patrick's Day. Graduation. As simple as a card is and as easy as it should be to throw a card away, I never have the heart to.

For me card-giving is heartfelt and vulnerable. It's intimate. It's nothing you should share with the inside of your trashcan. And I love reading old notes, especially when feeling a bit under the weather, to remind myself of the caring circle of friends and family I'm surrounded by.

In a birthday card from a college classmate: ... I'm sure glad we had a chance to talk. You have such an interesting personality and so much fun to be around. You made going to Soc. class worthwhile (of course the days you didn't skip.) ... Got to love that last part!

A post-surgery card from my roommate the card read: "Congratulations on the successful completion of your surgical procedure... Doesn't that sound better than 'Going under the knife and living to tell about it'?" The kicker is when she wrote in, especially at O'Bleness! Our university hospital was known to give tylenol to treat broken bones. Yikes!

These notes remind me of people I don't know any more.

I love this from my Japanese conversation partner: Thank you very much and I had good experience with you. Do you remember salsa? I was excited that dance and your house is very nice! I wanted to talk more with you but my English is not good. So, I'll study English hard after go back to Japan. I'm glad to meet you and I miss you. I especially love the broken English... there's no wrong way to say sweet words.

In these notes, I can sometimes catch a glimpse of how these people and I have changed over the years.

In a friend's postcard from vacation: ... Stephanie (her sister) walked into a pole! Today, she walked into the door. Mom is getting fat (kinda). ... Oh, the things that really matter to us as seventh graders. (In her mom's defense, she was pregnant.)

And other times, I relish in how things never change.

This one is my favorite because it truly fits the personality it came from. The card read "Celebrating Your 100th Birthday," and he wrote: They didn't have any happy birthday you are 20 cards so I figured 100/5=20 and that's close enough.

It's adorable that my best friend dates all her cards and endearing that my family is typically forced to scrawl, Sorry a little late! across the inside. (Or in my aunt's case, Sorry this is so so so late.)

Yes, each little note is unique, from the words that are expressed to the script they are written in. I suppose I have no choice but keep them around until drawers are spilling over with them.

Do you keep any special notes around? What do they say?

Photo courtesy taco-chipz


Crys said...

I do! I have two cards. One is from the guys out in Michigan that they gave me before I left. It still makes me kind of tear up, but I keep it to remind me that all of them believed in me and I really ought to believe in myself. Another one was from my sorority sister. It was simple and really helped me feel like I'm accomplishing things in my life. You know...since never seem to be able to see that I am.

alison said...

lol, i have a whole box of old cards too! I'm thinking in the spirit of recycling, I may start sending them back to the people who sent them to me (with my own added note)

Emily said...

I have so many of these little trinkets that I just can't seem to throw away. I think the worst of them just might be in "the ex boyfriend box." Even though a lot of them are hard to think about, you just can't throw that stuff away because they were part of your life. In a way--good and bad--they made you who you are today. Of course you hang on to that.