Sunday, November 27, 2011

Parental crap boxes

Now that we're firmly established as Colorado residents - and despite the fact that we don't yet own a house - my parents managed to return the seven or eight boxes of my crap that they've stored in their basement for years.  The suggestion was innocent enough: that I might want some of my old books, which of course I did.  Then, while I was tenderly remarking about every title ("Oh my gosh - The Incredible Journey!" "This is the first copy of Little Women that I totally read to death!" and etc.), the other boxes came out.

Among other treasures we found: my letter jacket, a box of ribbons, an un-cashed check for $10 for winning a talent show in 1984, my entire cassette tape collection (which you know is awesome), 4-H record books from showing sheep, a bunch of Garfields, a slide rule... As you can imagine, this stuff is really great.

One shoebox within another larger box really made me chuckle.  It's filled with notes, passed between my friends and me in high school.  Why they didn't end up in a landfill 20 years ago is a great question, but for some reason I kept them.  What struck me most was not the banality of the things we deemed noteworthy.  Rather, it's the massive presence of handwritten words.  In the age of email and Facebook and texting, the art of writing has all but disappeared.  Handwriting is elegant.  Paper feels substantial.  And written correspondence can be saved (perhaps for that day when I'm a person of historical significance and my past writings are all cataloged).  It's unlikely I'll ever read them all, but I'm not going to toss them out just yet.

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