Treasures from the Attic
Late last night, I was rummaging in the attic for something when I discovered a very dusty box that I realize now hasn't seen the light of day since 2005. I am considering it an "unintentional time capsule". I don't even remember the original purpose of my foray into the attic, so distracted I was by this large shoe box.
I struggled out of the attic, balancing the box as well as balancing important details like turning off the light, avoiding a fall down the stairs, and keeping mouse poop from falling in my hair.
Inside this shoe box (actually, a large boot box), I found a jumble of cards, letters, and scraps of paper. Taking the first item off the top, I started reading. There was a very rough system of accidental organization. Over time, I would throw a special note in the box, so the years stacked up roughly in order.
Life has Many Chapters
The notes chronicled the chapters of my life starting in my late teens. I laughed and sobbed myself through major (and minor) life events. With the help of these pages, I remembered ...
... ruffled teenage feathers. But I couldn't remember what ruffled them to begin with.
... high school graduation and the fragmentation of a tight-knit group of friends as everyone scattered to different universities.
... the speech my mom gave at my college commencement party describing my winding road to graduation. That long road was filled with detours and frequent rest stops, but ultimately, without the aid of a map, I arrived.
... dark days as well as comfort and condolences following the death of my father.
... The Golden Pencil Award - a recognition similar to the "People's Choice Award" from my former students and colleagues.
... predictions from friends, reassuring me that I would discover strength and resilience that I didn't know I had. These words followed a sudden, life-altering experience, and by golly, they were right!
... former boyfriends, whether I wanted to remember them or not.
... the Natalie Merchant song that my dear friend, Kellie, used to predict the gender of my first-born.
... viewing the ultrasound suggesting twins. Twins?? Twins.
... a wonderful, love-filled goodbye party as my young family prepared to leave Colorado and relocate to Washington.
... the abrupt end of my marriage and my sudden status as a single mom.
I appreciated all these memories, the good, the bad and the ugly, but I was especially delighted with two discoveries.
I found a playful, fictitious resume created by a former beau. It must have been written in 1989; it included a last name I no longer use and an address that no longer exists. Below are the "publishable" resume excerpts.
Personal Objective: "To be happy and not have to work at all. Buy a house in Washington and watch the boats go by."
Education: "Expected graduation date: The sooner the better."
Experience: "World Traveler - Washington, Boston, California, Oregon"
Other skills: "Great company. Problem solving and communication expert. Very cute."
The "experience" category makes me smile - his list of worldly destinations is somewhat short.
Another favorite I unearthed was a collection of "coupon books". Like many parents, I received "coupon books" from my kids on birthdays and Mother's Day. These charming childhood gifts are simply pieces of paper stapled together, and each slip of paper is good for a service: one free breakfast in bed; one free head scratch or back rub; one free closet-cleaning; one free batch of cookies; one free day of help in the garden ... They were adorable, these coupons with misspelled words written in chunky letters.
I'm glad that I'm a saver. I had a single depository of treasure for about 20 years. Since the boot box was "buried" in the attic in 2005, I have been saving my treasures in random places like dresser drawers, closet shelves, and jacket pockets. I find them in a variety of locations: bankers boxes in the garage, the glove box in the truck, and under our bed. I use them as bookmarks and post them on my bulletin board.
I plan on doing two things today. I'm going to find a large box, and begin collecting all of these memories in one place again. And I'm going to redeem a few coupons.