After 20-some years of renting an offsite storage room, my parents decided it was time to downsize – or rather, purge. I spent last weekend empyting their store room – making numerous runs to the dumpster – and taking what I had left behind when I moved in January. Among those items, a banker’s box full of letters/cards I had received over the years…mostly from my freshman year at NAU, but some dating even further back – we’re talking, pre-high school years.
That box has been sitting in my garage in the same inconvenient location for the past week. Tonight, home alone, I finally dragged it inside to unearth the contents once more. I sat and read letter after letter that my grandfather had written me. My grandfather was my hero and reading his handwritten letters littered with advice for whatever I was struggling with at the time, made me tear up. Not so much out of sadness; I think it was more out of relief that I still had something tangible that I can remember him by.
There are letters from my mom…some felt stiff and forced, as if writing were a chore/task to complete on her to-do list. But as the year passed, from church youth camp to NAU, her writing style became much more personal and it’s easy to see how our relationship began to form with just a few, quick strokes of her pen. There are letters and cards from Teresa as we embarked on our new-found freedom at separate colleges. Tales of drunken escapades, boys we’d left behind, boys we wished we hadn’t left behind, and certifiably insane roommates were often the theme of the earlier years.
I decided to keep everything. There is so much history contained in this box, so much of who I am. How can I get rid of it? My heart is a little heavy now. It’s almost as if I have relived my life at warp speed…and it makes me wonder, where did all the time go?