Wednesday, May 18, 2011

power of the pen

The dog is jumping on the bandwagon of clearing clutter around here. Ellie has taken to nibbling, tearing, and shredding old papers, clippings and photographs. The older, the better.

And why do we have paper piles within a dog's reach? Because we are ... hopelessly cluttered.

So her newest pile, in the basement (one of us forgot to shut the door) was entirely Bill's. Hoo boy, it was a bonanza: years of birthday and Father's Day cards, kids' artwork and notes, and newspaper clippings from - no kidding - the 1960s!

Sorting through the pile, I discovered lots of cute notes from the kids. Many were my own, most of which I don't recall writing. My favorite, written to Bill and dated April 26, 1986, welcomed him home from a business trip. Our boys were ages 1 and 2 1/2. I wrote:

Welcome home, dear!
While you were gone, I:
- found out what it's like to be dragged downstairs by 6:30 a.m.
- washed sand out of hair four times.
- cut David's hair.
- played in the sandbox four times.
- stayed up til past midnight.
- made 2 trips to the park.
- ate McDonalds with the boys.
- made a yummy chicken salad for dinner on the porch.
- washed off several scrapes: knees and arms.
- took many walks.
- scorched a double batch of granola.
- made a big potato salad for the church supper.
- had a discussion on death with David.
- pulled dandelions.
- saw the first lilacs.
- made reservations at a B & B in Marblehead - two nights!
- and missed you!

This note reveals the fullness of my days and hands, the intensity of mothering toddlers, and the treasured relief of extra sleep. I remember being that woman of 25 years ago, but it's a distant memory.

Much as I like to de-clutter around here, letters - nearly all letters - are preserved. Each is a piece of a person and a snapshot of a moment in the writer's life. A letter reveals personality, humor and mood. A letter is heart. And certainly, a letter is love poured out.


Karen Dawkins said...

So sweet!

Barb said...

I think I suffered amnesia for about 20 years, since I'm uncovering things that are completely unfamiliar.

LPool said...

I have some very interesting letters from you...interesting in what they contain (news) and interesting in what they are written on!!! At the time it gave me an idea to write to my father who was in Thailand. I opened up a paper grocery bag and started writing in the center and slowly but surely wrote in circles until I completely covered the bag. He said he usually got his mail at lunchtime and opened this particular letter...although it made him a little nauseous. He still has that letter in a box that sits on his dresser. Makes me smile just to think about it.