Monday, April 13, 2015

The Good Stuff

I do so wish I were better organized for this year's A-Z Challenge, but since wishing doesn't make it happen, let's just continue with the muddling through.

I mentioned a while back the box of letters I'd stumbled upon during the great basement purge of 2015. Once I found that box the purge became less of a purge and more of let's just sit here in the middle of the floor and read old mail kind of project. Hubs is all about getting a job done, so I ended up bringing the box upstairs to read at my leisure.

K is for Keepers

Every time you move you're more or less forced to decide what to hold on to and what to let go. What you can live without and what holds some sort of value, sentimental or otherwise. What's useful and what's outlived it's usefulness. When you move often, as we have done, this purging happens on a fairly regular basis. You're weary of all the packing and unpacking so you weed out most of the meaningless and are left with just the necessities to cart from pillar to post. 

The necessities and the good stuff.  

Letters from your sister written when you were a young, slightly homesick, eighteen-year-old college student are most definitely the good stuff.  

I've moved ten times since college, and these letters have followed me from one abode to another, across multiple state lines, and even for a time into the dark recesses of a storage unit while we lived across the pond. 

There's something very precious about holding a letter in your hand. A letter written about the everyday ordinary of life at home in 1978.

'...I went to the mall with Dad on Saturday. What a drag! We bought trash cans at Sears....'

' and mom went to the PX and Commissary. They had disgusting clothes, but I did find a pretty raincoat which mom put on layaway...'

' we went to the diner and the lady asked how many and I said four because I forgot you weren't there....'

I'm sure those words are fairly meaningless to you, but when I read them my heart wells up with something hard to name. Nostalgia, longing, the sweet sweet comfort of a place called home and childhood. 

I'd had a bit of a rough summer the year I went off to college, and my sister wrote me lots of letters. In most of them she begs me to write back, scolds me for my slow responses. I was all caught up in being eighteen, and while I don't remember the details, reading these letters I know I let her down. 

There's one from my mom in the box too, where she gently nudges 'write your sister' and then another saying...'you've mortally wounded her...'.

The girls in my family were not dramatic at all. 

There's a part of me that wishes now I could go back. Write her all the letters she deserved. Tell her how the stories from home made my heart feel light and safe. 

Love within a family is a powerful thing, and I handle the yellowed stationary gently. I tuck it safely back inside the box, ready for another move. 

And I sit at my computer and send an email about my ordinary everyday... 

'...hubs is painting the porch railing today....'

'...we'll be in Washington later this spring...'

'...found some letters you wrote me back in college...
they made my heart explode...they're keepers'. 


  1. Lucky you for having the foresight to hold onto "the good stuff" :)

  2. Oh, yes, I've been through a lot of this good stuff as I prepare for our BIG move and it has slowed down the process as I sit and read. :o)) Great post!

  3. What a sweet post. Wonderful memories discovered again and put away for another discovery in another place at another time. Lovely.

  4. Some things just have to be kept

  5. Best post ever. You just won the internet for this one. They aren't even my letters and I am tearing up.