Thursday, August 5, 2010

Digging through the past

Mom had left me a phone message.

I checked it as I climbed in the car to drive home from work last week.

"Logan is moving into Shannon's old bedroom and Dad emptied the closets. You had some things in there and I'd like you to come get them."

Great. My childhood stuff.  I took a mental inventory of what she was talking about.
During the 18 years plus three summers and winter breaks that I lived in my parents house, I had managed to save  toys, papers, trophies, and books and store them in various closets throughout the house. I had "memory" boxes for the little things- pictures, ticket stubs, a giant button from Sesame Street Live! The dolls, stuffed animals and barbies were boxed up and shoved into the storage area in the basement. I could think of at least three (maybe four?) tubs full of crap. Not to mention the stuff I forgot about.

I decided to drive over there, just stop by to see what was there. I'd avoided taking much in the past (But Mom! Don't you want your grandchildren to have toys to play with?!). I figured it'd be no big deal.

Moe was surprised when I walked in the door and delighted to hear I was wanting to look at the pile.
My dad had pulled everything out of Shannon's closet and piled it on top of the bed in the basement. My stuff, Shannon's stuff, all tangled together.

Mom was intent on going through everything! together! with the end result being boxes in the back of my car!
I dug in and took a mini trip through my childhood and a dramatic adolescence.

We found my much loved baby doll, Mary Erica. My mom has a funny story about walking around the mall with this doll in the stroller while my dad held me on his shoulders. Then they split up and she got some funny looks.

This was a souvenir I brought back for Shannon from Key West Florida when I was 13. I went with my cousin Allie and aunt and uncle. It was my first vacation without my family. Allie and I thought the flea market there was perhaps the coolest thing ever. We thought the sweaty reggae singers who made us shake tambourines on stage were weird. I don't really want to keep this at my house, but somehow I don't want it thrown away. Is it too funky to keep? Perhaps as a porch decoration?

These cuddly white bears, both called "Romeo," were unearthed from a box of stuffed animals. One of them was a gift from my 8th grade boyfriend Nick. We dated for all of two weeks. I was crushed when he dumped me. For some reason, I held onto the bear. My mom found the second bear and read the tag - to Shannon from Dan. Ha! Shannon had dated Nick's younger cousin Dan in high school.

Same family, same bear. Hilarious. I passed the bears on to Alex and Nick and told them to share with someone special! Reduce, reuse, recycle. I hope your relationships turn out better than mine and Shannon's.

I lugged three boxes home and read through a stack of papers from high school. I found an AOL Instant Messenger conversation I had with my first serious boyfriend Sean. The conversation was over whether we should "go out"  or not. I was unsure, because you know, "I liked what we had." We dated. He dumped me. I wrote tragic poems about it, which I also found in the box o' high school.

It's funny, rereading things like that. Everything I was feeling and thinking at the time come rushing back.
Now I'm looking at it through the eyes of experience and I'm blushing for my poor, pathetic 16-year-old self. Awkward. I'll be filing that away and will give it another 10 years before I dig it out again.

The sweetest thing I found as I dug through the files was a small, sealed envelope. In the upper left hand corner, I had written "To My Husband From Your Wife". The back was dated April 1, 2002. I was a sophomore in high school when I wrote it. When I saw it, I remembered writing it, but had only vague recollections about what I wrote inside. I know I was going to church a lot at the time, but I don't think it was a youth group exercise.

I was excited to give it to Chris so I could remember what it said. He was a impressed I'd managed not to open it for 8 years.

We read it together and I'm pleased to note that my 16-year-old self didn't have entirely ridiculous ideas about love.


  1. That baby doll kind of scared me as a kid.

  2. I'm still laughing- you need to come back for more!!! There's lots- closets we haven't opened, that whole storage shelf in the basement- memories galore!!!

  3. This whole post juts made me smile! I recently found a sheet on which each of us had made a list of our "ideal" prom dates. HILARIOUS.


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