The box has other things in it too. Pictures from high school and college. Receipts, letters from high school boyfriends, college boyfriends, in-between boyfriends. In-class back and forth conversation notes between me and one or two others at a time. A lot of Ann- notes, pics, letters she wrote me when I was away at school. Movie ticket stubs. Birthday cards, anniversary cards, the little card that comes with floral arrangements. All kinds of goodies.
I've looked through it before. Deeply. Like, examined every piece of paper. When I first found it after thinking it was gone forever I went through it. The other night, I don't know what made me think I needed to do this at one o'clock in the morning when I had to be awake at seven o'clock. The urge just came upon me. As I was sitting on the floor, with pictures, letters, and cards around me, the light bulb went off. I have these things. I have them. Whenever I want, if I want to laugh at Aimee quoting Richard Jeni on all corners of the paper as an addition to an already amusing note, I can. That's something that kids just don't and won't have anymore. Unless they print out all their texts.
I used to save everything. I was reading notes from people, involved notes, that I couldn't even figure out who I was getting so personal with. I definitely stayed up an extra thirty minutes worth just trying to decipher who I was writing with in one group of pages of back and forth where this other person went on and on about taking her boyfriend's virginity. I would think this would be a conversation I would remember. Rider wasn't a big school, classes had maybe twenty people in them, and I feel like I knew practically everyone in my major. It actually didn't matter who it was though, the point is, it was funny, and it was just warm and fuzzy to bring myself back about twenty years to #collegekidproblems.
I have hilarious drawings and loving handmade cards. I have ridiculousness and arguments. Short ones, some that are like novellas. Making nice and making up. Ann, Aimee, Dean, Jon, Brian, Jenn, Joe, Dave, Yoav, Damien, Megan, Eric, Bobby, Cathy, Yules, Michele, Stephanie, and a random girl in what I think was a psychology class. My mom. Even a Dirty Hangman that got some of us kicked out of Geological Resources & Hazards 101. These are just the ones off the top of my head, while I'm at work (otherwise, I'd actually look again). There is even one that now sounds like the creepiest of the creepers, reason to get a restraining order, "secret admirer" letter. Whatever- I'm a Leo. I was young. Flattery will get you everywhere. And I can see where I thought it was kind of...nice?
|Me & Aimee. Conover B hallway.|
It's definitely one of those things that those who know a time without portable technology don't take for granted. Tangible memories. Hey- I'm not saying I could live without my iPhone or texting. I love the text. In a general sense. I love being able to say a quick this or that, at my leisure, without needing to carve time out to be talking on the phone. I love the convenience. There just a lost...something when you have nothing sentimental on paper. I'm sure B has written me a lovey text that I have forgotten about and is long gone because it was on my old phone. I have cards and notes from him- we met on the cusp of everyone having a smart phone. I remember when he went on his "vision quest" across the country on his Harley, in 2005, we went to Verizon and got him some kind of updated "Palm Pilot". I doubt even exists anymore (I don't feel like looking it up). I think it was called a "Treo". So I have stuff when we were first together, and I have old cards, but definitely nothing else hand written from more recent times. Except, of course, notes to remember to turn down the heat before I leave the house.
It was just such a treat, yes, I say a treat, to even have that stuff to go through. I wish I had more. Since I know most of my school days were filled with note writing, folding, and receiving, I know there are too many that got away to the circular file over the years. I'm sure not all of them were save worthy, but there are some that I know did get accidentally thrown away that I'd give anything to have now. There is nothing like having something like that from someone gone but never forgotten. When you lose someone, there is that awful feeling when you start to forget what they sounded like, smelled like, spoke like. Having their handwriting and their words written down, as their last link to this living world can mean everything.
So moms & dads, I say moms & dads because we're the ones old enough to remember notes and letters, if you have one thing to teach your kids, is to use their handwriting. Texting is great for directions, to tell someone you're going to be late, or just to say a quick "hey, how you doin?". But for something more, longer, or even just to kill time, write a letter. It doesn't have to be written correctly, or without "bad" words (those curse-laden ones were some of Ann's masterpieces). It doesn't have to be anything more than nonsense out of boredom, but write something. Hand someone a note you wrote while you've been stuck at DMV for an hour. I don't know if it will be the same but you can try!
All I know is I will have to be buried with my box. B- note that one. This box is one of my most precious possessions. If there is "the other side", I want to be laughing there too.
|Me and Ann. Ninth grade? 1989|
|Those are mini-lockers on the table. Favors from my Bat Mitzvah circa 1988.|
I used to keep notes locked in there.