Wednesday, May 6, 2015

What Do You Save?

What do you save? What notes or cards or little keepsakes do you keep hidden away? Where do you keep them? And why?

I'm a sentimental person. What about you? Not all of us are. Anyway, I keep objects that have touched me in some manner. But I also despise clutter. The other day I was cleaning out closets and drawers, general spring straightening I guess, and I came across a cedar box given to me upon high school graduation. It was locked but I knew where to find the key. And I looked inside.

There in this box were my early school day treasures. I found my KAO pledge ribbons and a puzzle piece given to me by my director from the 1982 production of Godspell, when I played the Day by Day girl. There's a polaroid photo taken at my best friend Tiffany's graduation party and a notecard from my friend who now lives in LA but once directed me in a play he wrote. There are medals from music and piano contests. I found letters from my cousin Mike, Aunt PJ and grandparents. I perused poems and stories I wrote and a star chart drafted at Post Prom. And I found a valentine. I think it will always be one of my dearest, fondest keepsakes. It's a ballerina and it was given to me by Danny Williams in 2nd Grade.

I have other boxes like that ... tucked away places. I don't open them a lot. But I save items in them. They are full of items that bring a smile to my face. These can be notes from cast members, envelopes with a character name that was especially dear to me, and little mementos from people important and special at a particular time. Even ribbons from gift boxes find their way into these Rainy Day boxes. I have pressed flowers, dried roses, scraps of paper with little messages and photos hidden away. I even have a couple of ketchup packets, a little joke between a friend and me.

There's a place that holds drawings made by my kids. I have My son's hand-print copied on a xerox and the sheet of paper that my daughter first wrote her name. There are also some photos of special moments, including my curl bouncing Music Man Gracie Shinn. I have cards from my husband as well as messages from my parents and brother and sister. 

I scrapbook so many memorable items are preserved in one of the 70 albums I've created. But there are some kept safe in special boxes. Hidden. For my eyes only.

Oh, I also have a few items on display in my closet ... flowers dried and preserved, including a dainty rose from a tea rose plant I once had, a rose my son gave me when he came to the hospital to meet his sister for the first time and a carnation he gave me at this year's Swim Parent Night. There's a white rose from a theatre banquet and a red rose my husband gave me when I did Rabbit Hole. They are in a vase given to me by my Marta/Brigitta in Sound of Music ... and sit next to a photo of my "Annie" when she played Marian in Music Man.

There's a note from my mom ... and one from my dad -- pinned to the wall. As well as buttons my friend made for some of my plays. There's a cheery note from my friend In Chicago and a crown presented to me on my last birthday. There are other special things on that shelf too ...

I take these things out occasionally. Guess that's why I save them ... these tokens of kindnesses or friendship. They are reminders of special moments and times. And though I may not recall what I ate for breakfast, I receive a sensory image ... a movie in my mind ... when I peruse or glance through these boxes. Rainy day boxes I call them. A ticket thru time.

I dislike clutter. So I'm selective in what I save. Perhaps there isn't a rhyme or reason that I've chosen what I have. But these items remind me of words spoken, days past and people who've been important and special to me -- whether I still see them or distance or time or life separated us. I like to recall ... to remember. They still seem close that way, I suppose. Like shadows that caress my mind.

What about you? What do you save? Do you have special things hidden away? Do you pull out a card from a friend on a rainy day and smile? Do you grin as you reflect on the boy of four that drew you a picture book called The Adventures of Jack The Caveman as you gaze upon the nearly 16 year old young man sitting beside you? 

What do you save? I hope you have at least one Memory Box. When you peruse these boxes, alone one quiet night, what do you remember? I'm sentimental, I guess. And as I sort through these hidden treasures, I recall fondly the special moments and people in my life so far. And I'm grateful for they way they continue to touch my life ... from a distance, from the sidelines, from a memory or from the other room.

Even if their touch comes to me only through a dried flower, a note or a ballerina valentine ...
                                                                                          -- Jenni