Monday, February 10, 2014
Shredding the Past
Boxes... and boxes... and still more boxes. And there I was, on my ass in the Rec Room, sorting through them. Boxes of books and fabric. Boxes of craft supplies and more fabric. Boxes of Tae Kwon Do equipment and MORE fabric. And the mother lode of nostalgia... a box of letters.
Decades of correspondence in a bankers box. Untouched letters, languishing in a box for the 8.5 years we've resided in our present home. And before that, they languished in another box in our other two homes and before that, I carted them around in an old Cougar boot box until there were too many letters to fit into that box. Letters, read once, then stacked in order from past to present - wrapped with elastics, now so aged that the elastic is stuck to the paper and disintegrates if you touch it.
I sat amidst my paper equivalent to carbon dating. Letters from childhood friends written on Care Bear cards with stickers of horses and kittens,
international penpal letters from France and Australia, letters from high school friends (Bug, Skin, PJ and Cam), notes from a "Secret Admirer," that had appeared in my locker first year university. Love letters from old boyfriends. Letters from my parents and grandparents, my Mom's best friend Vivien. Cards and mementos from my friend Shannon who died unexpectedly in 2009.
A box full of forgotten history. Glancing through, there were return address names that rang NO bells at all and yet I found an old napkin, from when I was 16, that I'd slipped to an older guy (he was probably all of 23) at the mall that said, "Dir Sir, you are incredibly handsome." He'd returned it to me, having written on the other side, "Dear 'Madame' THANK YOU!" with a smiley face below.
I was prepared to shred it all. I'd hefted the shredder down from the office when David demanded I eat lunch. After eating though, I was going to bite the bullet and purge it all.
"I haven't looked at them for this long. It'd take me months to read through everything and distinguish the good from the bad. I don't have the time. We don't have the space."
David shot me a glance. "We can make space. It's one box. You've kept them. They're part of your past. One box isn't going to make a difference. We can tuck it in under the stairs."
"Maybe..." A weight lifted. That felt better. "Plus when I'm dead, and Rissa has to sort through them all, it'd probably be fun for her..." I stopped.
"Nothing," I said, swallowing my last bite of grilled cheese. "It's okay. I'll just... I'll just..." I ran back down to the basement.
Read. Shred. Read. Shred. Read. Shhhhhhhhhrrrrrrrrrrrread.
"What are you doing?" asked David from his shop area.
"So I found this erotic story that, uh... Tim wrote me..."
He raised his eyebrows. "You did huh?"
"Yeah..." Shhhhhhhhhrrrrrrrrrrrread. I was blushing.
"That good huh?"
"Yep..." Shhhhhhhhhrrrrrrrrrrrread. "I'm thinking that reading erotica where one's mother figures prominently, might not be quite the nostalgic experience Rissa would be hoping for upon my death." Shhhhhhhhhrrrrrrrrrrrread.
"You might be right."
I glanced through the other letters. They were innocuous enough - slightly titillating, but not downright graphic. Proclaimed affection - even love - my romantic past in ink. That, I thought, she might want a glimpse into. Hell, I do to. Maybe next weekend, I'll sit down with a pot of tea or a good single malt and dive into my past.