On my last trip to my parents house, I brought back my boxes of high school memorabilla. Since Emily died, I've lost alot of interest in collecting things. But I am still a pack rat when it comes to sentimental things. Cards, letters, notes, photos- I save all of it. Even movie ticket stubs. It's a sickness, I know. But I'm getting better. At least now it's organized.
Which is what I spent my morning doing. Organizing and going through 4 years worth of cards, letters, and little trinkets from what seems like a lifetime ago. And yes, I did manage to condense the box just a bit. I read cards from friends that I've long since lost touch with. Graduation cards from people that have since died, making those written words all the more precious. I love the internet- but I think it has robbed society of written letters. Instead of writing cards, people send a text or e-mail. And even though you can save those on a drive somewhere... it's simply not the same as holding a piece of paper that was once held by someone you loved. My Aunt Pat has been doing alot of research into our family's history, and found a love note written by a great grandfather. The poem talks about how his love will endure, even when the letter has faded with age. It's timeless, in a way the internet will never be.
But back to my meandering. I came across notes from my teachers, and as I read their words it's hard to believe I was ever that girl they wrote about. I read some of my essays about my hopes, dreams, and fears for the future and realize that in some ways that 16 year old hasn't changed all that much. I find at 30 I still have some of those same fears. I saw glimpses in my writings of the pains that I was trying so hard to hide. I wonder if dealing with them then would have saved me quite a bit of therapy.
I found an e-mail from my friend Maria that caught me unexpectedly. It was sent shortly after she came to stay with me and Emily after September 11th. She wrote at the bottom that if she and her (then) husband were ever lucky enough to have a daughter, she hoped she would be like me. I sobbed then- the ugly kind of cry that leaves your eyes red and puffy and your head feeling like it's stuffed with cotton. 2001 seems like such a long time ago. Who knew that only ten years later she'd be gone. I'm realizing more and more that aside from family, there aren't many people left in my life who've known me since I was a teenager. Maria met me when I was an obnoxious 15 year old. And despite the terrible teens, she ended up being one of the dearest people in my life. I wish she was here to help me navigate adulthood in the way only a friend can.
I don't keep in touch with my high school friends. I read the letters, notes, and cards- all full of declarations that we'd be "BFF's" for ever. I was tickled to be reminded of nicknames my friends had for me. Did you know I used to be called "Muppet?" I'd forgotten all about it, but those cards brought me right back to it. At the time, it was unfathomable that we wouldn't be a part of each other's lives. In some ways, I regret that I didn't try to stay in touch more. I believe people come into your life for a season, and don't always stay. Even though I think the internet has taken away some things in life- I will say that I am thankful for Facebook. Even though it's not the close relationship sworn in those letters- it is nice to keep up with some of my friend's lives.
It makes me even more thankful for the friendships I have now.