Where do you keep your memories?
I was looking through some old boxes the other day, boxes filled with old pictures, yellowed love letters, pictures of another time. They are my treasured souvenirs, "things" that come to life when I hold them.

I came across a small bundle of time yellowed letters, tied together with a thin leather string. I untied the bow and the letters fell free. I opened a letter written by my father, from 1971.
It talked about how he couldn't understand how I ended up with my California girlfriend(Baa). He spoke of how pretty and intelligent she was, and how he couldn't understand why she chose someone like me. "Stranger things have happened," was his last comment.

I treasured that letter. Don't ask me why, but it always makes me smile. I was 24 when it was written. He lived long enough to see me own my first home, and become a father. He came to visit once, which he rarely did, and he managed to force himself to say " You got a pretty nice place here, son," which is the closest he'd come to saying " I love you. "
I remember we were sitting on my porch, and I looked over at him and said, " Yea, bought it with drug money." He had this shocked look as if it were true. I felt compelled to say.."Just kidding, dad. "

Some old pictures fell out of one of the letters...forgotten pictures..my hidden souvenirs. Was that me? Was that Sue? Is this all I have from that time to remind me of me..of us?
I found the very first letter I ever wrote Sue. We lived 150 miles apart. I was a lifeguard at a resort, and she would come once a year to visit her father and grand mothers. I was living in a friends trailer, watching his kid while he worked. We were just falling in love. Our plans were all new.

I was enrolled in this NY correspondence writing school. The memories of me sitting at this little kitchen table came rushing back. I even remember my first assignment, complete this line.."Quiet as a..."
I remembered writing.."Quiet as a candle lightens a darkened room." I smiled as that memory floated by.

But holding my very first words written to Sue, was if I was holding a sacred scroll. The letter said, we will get married and we will live off my writing. Oh God, I cherish that letter. I sat on the floor and reread the words written so long ago. These were my memories, my pawnshop of sacred things turned in, to be picked up later. I was 10 yrs older than Sue, and the letters showed she was torn between her love of her mother, who disliked me, and the feelings that were awakening in her for me.

I was 24 when I first saw her, she only 14. There was no love. She was just an innocent girl with her sister who would come to the resort. We played cards at break. She came back every summer. I would be on the road, but managed to return for the summer.
And then, when she was seventeen, I looked up and saw her and Nancy walking down the beach. I swear, the world stopped. She was stunning. Dark flowing hair, eyes so brown they drew you in. I had never see anyone so beautiful. Only then did my mind and heart feel the power of romantic feelings.
I rummaged through the pictures, through the first awkward attempts to reveal my love.

My most precious of memories tucked away, neatly bundled, in a plain box shoved to the back of a closet. Yellowed pictures of yesterday, words written on an old typewriter, plans and schemes at their Genesis.
I stacked the letters evenly, tied the leather string in a bow. I placed them gently on top of other priceless "things" gathered. I placed the box to the furthest corner. I smiled. I came back to the pawnshop, they remain, as beautiful as when I left them. Where do you keep your memories?
Treat them gently, they are your link to the beginning of this long journey.
Rain..

Comments:
 
lauralee   lauralee wrote
on 11/28/2009 1:25:27 PM
oh, rain. my husband has the first love letter i wrote him in his wallet. we no longer carry pictures of one another, and after 12 years of marriage, we still are without children. but he carries that letter with him wherever he goes. i had forgotten until i read this and remembered that my words in my handwriting were what he felt were me, for lack of a better description. and that i mean that much to him, that he means ever more to me. what ever will happen to the world, now that there are no more handwritten letters, no more heart-felt scribblings sent via mail to be held and loved and put away? do the kids today print out their cold emails and ever think to read them again? the sad truth: i doubt it.

Michele   Michele wrote
on 7/3/2009 6:16:44 PM
Beautiful story. I know how you feel--sometimes I wish there were video cameras back then, and that I could plug one into my brain before bed, so I could dream these memories & witness the innocence again. I keep letters too.

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