I had a conversation with an old friend yesterday (hey look, you made the blog today!), and it prompted me to drag out my memory box this morning and dig through it.
I have a big trunk in a storage closet in my basement that has all my keepsakes and memories from my childhood. Photos, journals, letters...all sorts of momentos from my life. Every now and then I have a bout of nostalgia and I go down to the basement, drag out the trunk and spread everything out on the floor and go through it. There are lots of things in there that make me smile and a few things that make me a little sad, but I love to go through it and look at each memory one by one.
No matter how long it's been since I've seen each item, the second I pick it up the memory of it is so strong that it's like going back in time. I have a sticker book from when I was 10 that was my pride and joy at the time. I collected, counted and rearranged those stickers very carefully for months. Two of the stickers in the book came out of a box of Cocoa Puffs and even though they weren't scratch and sniff stickers they smelled like Cocoa Puffs from being in the box. The second I opened that sticker book and saw those stickers today I immediately checked to see if they see smelled like Cocoa Puffs, lol. They don't. Funny that all these years later I remember exactly what those stickers used to smell like and exactly where they came from.
It's also strange to me that I now have a child that is the same age that I was when I collected all those stickers! Where has the time gone? Josh had a great time looking at the book this morning.
My original Cabbage Patch doll is also in that box. I was around 9 the year that Cabbage Patch dolls came out and it was one of those items that sold out really quickly and caused moms to beat each other up at the store for the last one. That's all I wanted for Christmas that year, and somehow my mom managed to get one for me. I've never asked her if it was difficult to find it. I wonder. I remember specifically waking up on Christmas morning and finding that doll waiting for me in the living room. For years I've been saving that doll because I hoped that someday I would have a daughter to give it to. As soon as Clarissa saw it this morning she picked it up, grinned at it and gave it a big kiss. It's now sleeping next to her in her bed as she takes a nap. It made me a little teary to see it. I now have a new wonderful memory of that doll.
I have lots of pictures of me and my friends in Junior High. Oh, the hair, the braces and the gigantic glasses....I have some hillarious photos from that time in my life. I had a best friend named Lisa who I went everywhere with, I was in love with New Kids On The Block, and I was slightly on the nerdy side with my nose constantly in a book. Wow, I loved to read. I read every single thing I could get my hands on. I have a serious nostalgia for books I read as a kid. My mom got rid of most of my books and I've spent years hunting down copies at library book sales and garage sales. Finding a worn out copy of Ramona and Beezus at a garage sale is like finding a serious treasure to me!
I have a scrapbook of memories from my high school boyfriend in my memory box. Dance pictures, ticket stubs, funny little notes and all sorts of things that are really fun to look at now. I fell in love pretty hard when I was 17. Like a typical dramatic teenage girl, that guy was my whole world for a while. Going through those momentos brought back a lot of really fun memories of that time in my life. Flipping through that book made me feel like I was 17 again for a few minutes.
When I got married I debated with myself whether or not it was still appropriate to keep those momentos, but I decided that something that was that important to me at one point in my life deserved a special spot in my memory box. I learned a lot about life from that relationship. I learned some good things and I learned some dissapointing things, but they were all things that made me grow as a person. I sometimes wish I could go back in time and have a talk with my 17 year old self about that relationship, knowing what I know now. But I guess when it comes down to it, I'm glad I didn't know how it was going to end. I really enjoyed the ride.
I have my dads obituary and funeral program in the box. I have another box of memories of him in it that truthfully I don't really like to open. I have his watch, a little change dish shaped like a potato that I gave him for Fathers Day when I was a kid, a few of his shirts and other things that are still hard for me to look at. Every now and then I think I'm going to go through that box, but I still can't, it still makes me too sad. That box stays closed in the storage closet. When the kids are older I think I'll get it out and give them a few things from it and share those wonderful memories of the grandpa that they never got to met. Someday. But not yet.
I found several letters in that box that Shawn wrote me at the beginning of our relationship. I put that poor guy through a lot back then. I'm glad he stuck with me. Those letters sit in the box next to our wedding announcement and our wedding album. Have I ever mentioned that Shawn lost his wedding ring three days into our honeymoon? He's going to laugh when he reads that. :)
It's fun to go through that box and look at all the things that made me who I am today. All those momentos are a patchwork of who I am. The kid who loved stickers, the girl who saved a special doll for her future daughter, the akward preteen with frizzy hair and braces and her nose in a book, the teenager who fell in love and then found out that not everything lasts forever, the woman who fell in love again and found out that some things do last forever...every moment in my life has taught me something and I'm grateful for those experiences.
After a while it was time to put the memories back in the box and go back to the present. I've got a busy day ahead of me. We're going out of town for the weekend and I still need to pack. No matter how much my mind is in the past today, the future keeps on charging forward. I'd better try to keep up.