Sunday, December 2, 2012

Another Blog Prompt

Blog Prompt:
Have you received any memorable letters you would like to have your children and grandchildren read?
Back in the day I was a big letter writer.
 Email and facebook didn't exist and long distance phone calls were so expensive. I went to six different schools from grades 9-12 and I maintained friendships with people in all of those schools after I moved. There were boys on missions and you wrote them letters and checked the box every day to see if the wrote you back. I still have a habit of looking for the mailman with anticipation as if he's going to bring me anything but bills and junk mail.
Letters back and forth with "big" Romy kept me sane while I was pregnant with Parker and she was pregnant with Brooke. Letters from Anitra Crandall and Evan Vance helped me get through some of my loneliness when I spent a semester living in Indiana with my cousins. Letters from Tara Low or my cousin, Kori always brought me such joy.
I saved every letter and note I ever got. I loved looking at them and remembering fun times and the relationships.

Just before I turned 20, I lived in an apartment with a roommate. It didn't work out. She was a lot older than I was, probably in her 40's (long story I'm not going to be sharing anytime soon) and we both were at very different places in life. I was getting through a bad break-up, and she was also getting back on her feet after a bad relationship, too. You define "getting back on your feet" differently when you are 20 than when you are 40.
She needed a full time companion, I needed a place to shower and sleep.
I dealt with the growing conflict by being gone as much as possible and avoiding her.
Oh, and I also stopped paying my share of the bills.
 I know.
One day, I came home and the locks had been changed.
That's when I learned that it's always important to have your name on the lease, too-especially if you're going to flake out and stop paying your rent like a jerk.
She took everything.
I was too young and dumb to just call the police and get my stuff, too dumb to see if she'd return it if I just got square.  I was just mad and didn't know what to do or who to turn to. I did manage to climb in an open window and grab an armful of stuff (before the landlord caught me) a few days later, but almost everything I owned, the roommate took.
And I look at it now, and duh, why wouldn't she? I was being ridiculous and I owed her money. She had tried to work things out, and I just ran away from it all.

We all do dumb things.
I've done many dumb things.
How's that for a fun story that totally went off topic?
I am sure a lot of my things ended up in a dumpster, including my huge box filled with letters and notes from second grade on through 12th....letters about mean teachers, bands I loved and even a few 'check yes or no' letters.
 They were all gone.
It didn't stop me from saving every letter I ever got after that though. When you look through my boxes of memories, you'll find that mostly, it's letters and cards from people. I keep them all. I did manage to get rid of a bunch of old Christmas cards a couple of years ago, but I'm back to having a stack as high as a house elf again.
And when I pass away, my kids will see them and wonder what to do with them. Keep the ones that matter to you or make you feel something and toss the rest. No reason for them to feel tied to cards from old ward members and kids I use to babysit. Those matter to me and I hold on to them for my own purposes.
I do hope they keep the letter my Grandma wrote for all of her grandchildren with her testimony in it. It wasn't written special for me, but it is special to me.
I hope they find the note I always in my wallet from Doreen. She wrote me a note in church when we first moved to Taylorsville and told me I was a good mom and that she looked up to me. I've pulled that out on hard days and felt her love with me, I always have it with me. I keep notes from Betty and Joie by my bed as well. I have one from Roo that I keep in my car. I have a special folder on my computer where I save all of the emails I have been sent by Matt's mom. I don't know that any of those letters from my 'other mothers' need to be saved by my posterity, but I hope they read them and know how much light came into my life from these women who loved me. (And oh, I love them.)
Maybe keep the letters and cards Matt sent me when he was working in Chicago. Matt is a person who especially appreciates not having to write things down in this modern world, and he still made sure he sent me something in the mail at least once a week.
I hope my kids keep the folder that has all of his mission letters in it. His mom saved them all and I've looked through them with Zane once or twice and smiled at how much he has changed, yet how much he has stayed the same.
I don't throw any of them away, not even those from people who later turned out to do more harm than good. Relationships change, sometimes they end and they still existed. I choose to remember the good parts and keeping old cards and letters is a tangible reminder that things didn't always hurt with that person and I can keep the good parts in my heart and with me always.
In the end, it's all just papers, just a part of the story and people live their own story.
 Keep what adds to your story, Kids, and let the rest go.

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