My mom recently had to clean out the garage so that we could get the old, rotting ceiling removed and clean out the attic space above it that had been home to a colony of rodents. While sorting through all the boxes and bins that have accumulated over the years Mom found an old box of photos, cards, and letters that Dad had saved; spanning from around 1985 – 2008. My dad passed away in a hiking accident when I was 13 years old (2009), so any memorabilia from him is very precious.
Looking through the box tonight we couldn’t believe all of the stuff he had saved. I found a birthday card that my best friend had made for him when we were in kindergarten! She is still one of my best friends now so I had to text her a picture of it. He also saved the ticket from the jazz concert that he took my mom to on their first date back in ’89. Lots of letters from his friends and cousins too. Even a card that his brother (who has also passed away now) wrote to him.
There are hundreds of photos in the box, many sorted into labeled envelopes in Dad’s neat, printed handwriting. They document trips he took with his friends and siblings as a young man, family gatherings, his business trips that took him around the world, the early childhoods of my siblings and me.
I am lucky that I have a ridiculously good long term memory. I can still remember things from back when I was two years old! I can still remember the events during which a lot of those childhood photos were taken. I can still remember those good years with my dad. I think that maybe my brother doesn’t remember those years as much, which is sad.
He loved us, he cared for us, and he taught us about the world. It wasn’t his fault that depression sunk its claws into him in our later childhoods and early teen years, taking away some of his vibrant spirit. There was a time before that, when he was happy, when we were all happy. That is the time that I choose to remember and that I want to make sure stays documented.
Anyways, the point is, I have a new project to work on! I want to archive all of this stuff. Scan it all into a computer and put it on discs to distribute to family members. My aunts, uncle, and grandparents would especially appreciate it I think. It’s important to keep a record of when he was still so vibrant and full of life.
Will post updates periodically about how this endeavor is going. We are hoping to go back to Illinois to visit family in June, so maybe I can try to have it ready by then.