A Random Image

Jett Superior laid this on you on || May 25, 2003 || 2:02 am

I could pretend to not remember, and maybe even eventually con myself into actually not remembering at all.

Why the fuck would I want to do that? I have a big box of glowing wood (& a brass lock that has never, ever been used–”Here! Take a gander at my bits and pieces!”) handcrafted lovingly by an uncle, that is filled with smaller boxes. In those smaller boxes are letters and pictures and souvinirs of a life lived and not dallied with. There is my first paystub and W2, my spelling bee ribbons, this award and that award (some of them seeming to be so utterly foreign to me), enlistment papers, nubby yellow baby blanket, prayer book, first corsage and on on on…

The letters, the cards; they are my most prized possessions and I will scrounge through them every now and again, laughing and crying over snippets of life that are encapsulated there and come surging off the page.

I look back at the younger me with a tenderness that surprises me. Where I should be scornful I am understanding and where I should be understanding I am near-apathetic. Yet they were things that mattered so very much at the time. There are petty grievances there, full of hurt feelings and loaded words, and there are things of such magnitude that I cannot believe they were covered with such brevity.

Some people have a whole box dedicated to the storage of their correspondences to me, others are limited to two or three pieces of mail, carefully filed together for continuity’s sake. Sometimes I think that one day I might hunt up some of the people that put their names to their words and gifted me with them. I’ll send them the letters that they invested part of self in, so that they can know the same joy that I know; the one of reacquainting with an earlier, untested and less-polished version of self.

I did hand-deliver a packet of notes to someone one time, with the disclaimer that he fork them back over in three days. It didn’t even take that long. He sat one night, a bottle of Beam between his knees, and read every one. He tells me that as the dawn came he lie back and cradled them beside him while he slept hard and deep. “You’re the same,” he said, “but your bangs are longer.”

6 worked it out »

  1. i had a longdistancelove who told me sometime later that rereading my letters was for her like trespassing on someone else’s life.

  2. liz 5.25.2003

    i lost most of my memories along the way – both the physical, boxed aspect & the — whatever it is our brains write memories in. what is that? do we know how the brain stores things? i forget.

    i’m saving *everything* for my son. every single piece of kindergarten art, everything. my kid isn’t going to have a few scraps or a box, he’ll have a *garage*.

    i wonder exactly how crazy he’ll think i am for doing that.

  3. Jett 5.25.2003

    He won’t, but his future wife may take issue with it: “Your crazy, obsessive mother!”

    You should be a Southerin momma, liz, you really should.


  4. John 5.26.2003

    I hear nostalgia’s making a comeback.

    So now, I’ll leave this mini-Burke/Connections riff here, because well, it might make more sense l8r.

    Was engaging in box opening exercises recently. I have many to give evidence of saveverythinitus. I found a bunch of old pictures and a Kenner Movie viewer with a Star Wars reel (actually a lot more, but…). Decided to watch old video. Rich Hall’s Vanishing America, which is nostalgia crack. It starts with him going through the old wooden box of stuff from his childhood (much more there I will have to write about in other places-read: my own), Started reading my early b-day present to me, American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story, which is like a mind-bomb. Bill as a boy devoured all of Mark Twain’s writing, but especially Huck Finn. I’ve not gone into all of Twain’s stuff, but I got stuck on Huck too. Bill also had a huge wooden box where he kept all his jokes. I kept all the boxes of all the games I’ve ever bought. OK, so I’m no David Burke, but there is much nostalgia in the air lately.

  5. delmer 5.27.2003

    When Jet and I go out to antique shops and crap boutiques I am always drawn to the boxes and boxes containing letters and photos… afterimages and echoes of entire lives. Perhaps all that remains to show these people ever existed…all being sold off for a mere handful of coin.

    I guess there is something else that (likely) remains, perhaps making this all the more tragic…the only other thing that probably remains of such people, is the scattered genes that were passed on to the very people that sold off their ancestor’s valued personal effects in a final act of negligence and or disrespect.

  6. Jett 5.27.2003

    Del, it’s funny that you mention this, because lately when we go scavenging the antique malls I am really, really drawn to personal diaries. I feel like I should collect and protect them. I may start doing that when the funds even out.

    As to photos, I have always loved them; I recall even as a small child poring over my mother’s photo album. My home is covered with pictures from silly to somber, some elaborately framed, some haphazardly pinned up.

    I have a friend who goes antiquing for the sole purpose of buying old photos and daguerrotypes. She then spends a wad of money framing them (it’s how we met, I’ve done several pieces for her) and hangs them about her house. It’s a beautiful concept.


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