Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Friendships (Not Quite) Forgotten

The day has slipped away from me completely. I have no idea what Today was at all, because I have been dwelling in the Past for most of it. It was about time, I know. Time to dig out all the scraps of girlhood. To remember what I've almost forgotten and then to release the memories to the grave of time. 

Some part of me has always had a hard time letting things go. I want to cling to what was once important, not letting go of even the smallest memory. I used to save movie ticket stubs, needles from Christmas trees, shells from the beach (of course). One evidence of my love of memory is the large cardboard box full of letters in my garage. And not only letters, but invitations, bulletins, programs. Paper memories. But it's time to let go of the Past. To sort through the 12 shoe/stationery boxes stuffed to the brim with friendships. I'm almost halfway done, but the going is slow. I can't bear to throw away anything unless I've read it one last time. But it is hard to say goodbye, I suppose, and I am keeping some of the letters. Deciding which ones stay and which ones go is difficult. 

I lived in the mountains of Colorado most of my teenage years, hours away from my friends, and somehow I became a pen pal addict. Writing letters was the only way I could communicate with my friends during the week (I'm allergic to telephones), and over the years, the paper built up. For some reason, I've carried it with me through all my moves so far. 

Reading the letters has brought back a lot of memories. Some of these friends I am still close to, and some not so much anymore, and I wonder if they knew how much their letters meant to me. Those were the days when we traded stickers, when we mailed games of hangman back and forth. Each of my friends had her own idiosyncrasies and her own penmanship. We copied each other a lot, I think, but still we managed to find our own styles. Some of my friends wrote to me of books, others of music. One friend I've lost touch with now spoke of "the new band N'Sync" and trying out to be an extra on a WB show like Dawson's Creek. Another friend always listed the current Janette Oke book she was reading (she probably read about twenty). There were little discussions of politics we heard from our parents, excitement over church picnics and sleepovers, requests for prayer. One theme that keeps coming up in some of the letters is Lord of the Rings. I think we were more than a little obsessed with elves and hobbits at the time (and if we're honest, some of us still are).

It seems a little silly to call ten years ago "the good old days", but that's what they feel like now. All of us have moved on, moved around. Many of us have gotten married and have kids now. For the most part, we've given in to the technology of the age, and the letters are fewer and farther apart. We grew up, I guess. All the same, it feels good to go back in time, at least for a moment. To remember all those years of hopes and dreams and fears, and see how many of them came about.

To all my friends of the past, not quite forgotten: know that you have helped me become myself today. You have taught me the truth of faithfulness, of friendship, of love. And as I say goodbye to some of your letters, I am not saying goodbye to you. A few fragile scraps of paper cannot change the past that I hold in my heart.


  1. I know exactly how you feel! I had a hard time going through all my letters/cards/invitations, etc when we were about to move here. I love reading those. There's nothing like a good old fashioned letter!

  2. What a sweet post. And I know what you mean - lately I have been thinking a lot about the past...I don't know why. BUT - I do realize that I need to focus more on the present so I can enjoy it to the fullest.

  3. Rose what a beautiful post. I am very much the same way, I used to keep everything and when it came time to clean things out I would sit down and read everything again. I did keep certain things and still hang on to those that touched my heart so.


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