I’m not a sentimental person. One of my earliest, if not the earliest, memory I have is of losing a precious stuffed animal lamb. I’ve lost many more things I loved throughout the years–the pair of sunglasses I saved up for, my 16th bday present–a camera, even years and years of treasured photos when my wallet was stolen.
The lesson younger me learned was: to love objects is to lose them.
Didn’t help any that my mom is a pragmatist and we had very few knick-knacks growing up. I inherited that gene. I let my poor husband pack one small box of knick-knacks during our move from our apartment to a house.
Over the weekend, I read a post by my friend Elsie Elmore about items that hold special meaning to us. So while her cherished item was a Valet Chair from her father, I had to think really hard about what item I cherish.
And I couldn’t think of any.
I could, however, think of words.
Words are the one thing I’ve kept throughout my life. Wherever I go, whenever somebody leaves me a note that makes me happy, I put it into a file. I’ve been collecting since I was a kid. This is the file:
This one is from two of my younger sisters. I have every. single. note. all my siblings gave me from the time they were born. Now one is married. Another is leaving for college soon. One has his license. And another is pursuing a career in music.These three are from my husband-then-boyfriend during college, another good high school friend, and a little girl I met in Jamaica.
This last one means a lot to me. I wasn’t close with my grandpa. I have exactly three memories of him besides the smell of his apple orchards, the smell of his pipe, and the cattails in front of his house.
He flew a B24 in WWII. While he didn’t go overseas, I heard around the dinner table that he saved lives. When I asked about it, he shut me down quick. Later that summer, he sent me a letter apologizing for his response. He filled he envelope with copies of article clippings about what happened. This letter is the longest conversation I had with my grandpa–I don’t ever want to let it go.I wonder if this is why I enjoy writing so much–because while I can’t seem to hold onto the objects I love, I can still hold onto the words I love.
I bet there’s a connection in there somewhere :)
Are there any words you cherish?