There are many things I hold precious in this world and I'm a very sentimental person, so I hold onto items that have special meaning to me. My kids call me a pack rat and they're right. I need to be better at this, but there are a few things that I would never throw out.
As I looked in the attic for the journal I kept during my walk on El Camino and the photographs we took on the morning we left Brussels and on the last day when we finally reached the city of Santiago de Compostela, I found so many things that made me smile and shudder. I'm in the early stages of my second novel, Finding Gracia on El Camino, and I wanted to set the mood.
I've kept 90% of everything my children have ever drawn at home, on vacation or in school from the time they could barely hold a pencil to their college days. From a tiny drawing, to their first attempts at letters and sentences to their college papers. I know, that's a lot and I keep it all in a huge plastic Rubbermaid container up in my attic. Thank God for attics! Their school trophies and academic achievement certificates are up there with their high school and college graduation gowns, caps and tassels, too. That was the part that made me shudder. I need to go through those papers and keep just the best, but it's tough!
I still have my children's silver baby cups engraved with their names and the date of their births, and I have my ex-husband's baby cup, as well. I've also kept many items, newspapers and magazines printed on the day of their births as well as their belly buttons and first bottles and pacifiers. Nuts, right? Not to me. For whatever reason, my mother didn't save a lot of things for my sister and I, so I vowed I'd do things a bit different. It could have been that we were a military family and hauling all that extra stuff was a pain. Could be.
My sister and I have tried to split the family albums and shared photographs with each other. Photographs galore. In newer albums, loose photographs and photographs pasted to those old albums with the waxy paper in between the pages and black paper edges. Remember those? All in a container so that the mice don't get to them.
In another container, I keep things from my childhood and young adulthood. I have a Mother's Day card I made my mother on a piece of manila paper. It's a pencil and crayon drawing of cheerful flowers in a blue vase and I wrote in cursive: "To the best mother in the world. Your daughter, Eleanor." I was always drawing and I remember drawing many things for my mother, but this is the only drawing I found after she passed away in 1992. She kept many cards in the drawer of her bedside table and she showed my handmade card to me the year before she passed away. I often wonder if my mother somehow knew her time was short because that same year, she gave me a pair of my baby shoes and a mint green dress I wore when I was an infant in addition to a silver punch bowl with ladle and 10 silver cups that I always loved. I hope this punch bowl will be included in my children's weddings :)
In an old folder, I have dozens of drawings and a drawing of a woman and a centaur I made in my early teens from a racy ad in Cosmo magazine when I wasn't supposed to read those magazines. Oh, well :) We got a hold of them, anyway. I still have a few school notebooks and black and white composition books from high school as well as an autograph book from middle school. Yearbooks galore. The notebooks and composition books are full of drawings, poems, small snippets of writing, and tons of quotes I collected over the years, thanks to my high school English teacher, Mrs. Diaz.
I have jewelry given to me by old boyfriends, an ex-husband and some remnants of shenanigans I pulled in middle school. I found love notes exchanged during class, a Turkish puzzle ring that I stole on a dare from the Monostiraki Flea Market in Athens, Greece when I was 13 years old and a yearbook entry written by my BFF at the time who made mention of other shenanigans that only she and I know about! I didn't say they were all proud moments, did I? A ticket stub from the ferry from Athens to Aegina and hair tied up in a faded ribbon from a haircut long ago. I found a car emblem that a boy I liked stole from a Mercedes Benz car, trying to impress me and a dried flower in a book of poetry from my second boyfriend who died at 17 in a motorcycle accident.
Goodness me. The history of a family, my family. The history of a life well-lived. Every item I picked up had a history, memory and stories attached. It's no wonder I write historical fiction and love vintage and antiques, is it? And, it should be quite obvious to you, dear reader, that I did no writing today. I did a whole helluva lot of research, though!
Happy weekend to you!
Peace and love,