I know I’ve been gone for a long time. These past few months have been pretty rough, between politics, work, migraines and such. I’ve been channeling a lot of my negative energy into home improvement, landscaping, and cleaning out all my closets.
As I was cleaning, I found a set of old boxes, packed up with mementos from when I was a child. Some of them, I’m not entirely sure why I kept: Christmas cards from Illegible, drawings other children made for me, which probably would have meant more if I knew who drew them, and scraps of writing that have no context.
More importantly, though, I found a cache of photos of my grandparents, old letters they wrote to me, and embroideries. The letters came from my grandmother Mary Jane, who used to send me letters at random when she saw something unusual or pretty she thought I’d like. She also sent me a card on every holiday every year without fail. I had these all wrapped up in a bag, and it was fun to sit down and read them all, and remember all the things she loved. It reminds me to write more letters to people I love; emails just don’t have the same value.
My other grandmother, Myrtle, died before I was born, so I’m grateful for the few pictures of her that I do have. Like me, she loved to cook, read and cross stitch, and looking through her embroideries brings me closer to her. I also have a box of her old costume jewelry and collections, and my daughters decked themselves out in old screw-back earrings and beads. While I didn’t know her, I like to think it would have made her happy to see them covered in her jewelry and looking at her picture.
The last thing of interest was all of my old middle school yearbooks. I’m reading a book about girls in middle school to prepare M (an entirely different entry in itself) and it said to read your own yearbooks and see what people wrote about you. I remember middle school as the tenth circle of hell, yet what people wrote in my yearbooks was very nice overall, mostly about my writing. M said, “It looks like you knew a lot of nice people.” My teacher wrote lovely things, too. It’s strange to look back through a different lens, and focus on other things. I’m glad I kept them. (Of course, I didn’t have bullies sign my book, but I had I bigger support system than I realized, I think. Depression can blind you.)
It’s been enlightening, and I’ve now processed most it into scrapbooks, which my girls peruse frequently, asking questions about their family and background. I hope they keep them and pass them down, at least for awhile, and my grandchildren someday might be excited to find my old letters.