Saturday, August 10, 2013

Through a new lens

It's been an odd day.  I woke up to realize my contact lens case had been knocked over, drained and dried overnight.  Went to look for new lenses and realized my spares were in my purse... you know the one I lost on the train?  Yeah.  My glasses were in there too.  I hope the thief has my same prescription.

So spent the morning wearing an old pair of my husband's glasses.  They made things clearer but... weirder. The ground was too close.  I felt short.  Surfaces were oddly convex, doors and counters bending up to meet me. I was getting a headache...

Finally, I talked my doctor's office into giving me a free $20 sample of contacts.  And I arrived home just in time for the delivery.

"Kate, there's a couple boxes on the porch.  Just take what you want and toss the rest."  And with that, my Dad and Mom scooted off to deliver similar boxes to my other siblings.  I also instantly inherited and presently lost most of my grandmother's china, a set which was decimated when my dad picked up the box with a loose bottom, and quartered when it arrived at my door and was placed at the wrong angle.  Still, I have two bowls and seven plates to remember the many dinners at her small apartment with white bread and pre-sliced pats of butter. More than I had before.  :)  Don't have much room here anyway!

Moving away from your family of origin is a longer process than you think.  Had no idea this stuff was still in my parents' basement.  Now that they are in the throes of a cleaning frenzy, I got back all these pieces of my history...

Besides the dishes, I received a box of well-preserved letters, arranged in categories by the organized soul I was as a teen.  Letters I received at Camp Don Bosco as a kid in New Jersey.  Letters I received when I worked summer months away from home at a retreat center near Boston.  Letters from when I was visiting the convent in Nashville and colleges in New Hampshire.  The letters from home as dry as the life of a truly non-socialized homeschool family can be, detailing interesting caterpillars and (literally) what the garden was growing.  (Not that those things were bad; just really wish there had been more to say of that time...) Sweetly colored pictures and notes from my little brothers and sister, for whom I was something of legend: the one who was most grown-up and most independent.  The stuff of my life till I was 18.  And finally, every letter I got my freshmen year in college.

Carefully opening the slightly yellowing pages (how dare they yellow, it's not like I'm really old), I'm trying to comprehend the person I was in the 90's.  Through more mature eyes, I can understand what I'm reading worlds better than I did.  Several pages of handwritten letters from the guy of my dreams who I truly thought didn't like me (even as I read several pages of handwritten letters from him, sigh.)  Letters about scholarships won and lost.  Sketches that obviously had a joke that went with them that is long since forgotten, but still seem vaguely funny somehow. I'm chuckling as I realize my class exchanged Christmas cards and even some Valentines... the one's you buy at the grocery store that rip along perforated edges, even the ones with Minnie Mouse on them.  Gosh we were... young. 

It strikes me that my own kids will likely not have dusty boxes of letters, tangible evidence of the regrets and triumphs of their lives; it will likely all be some sort of digital version...  I wonder what to do with this box. Wasn't exactly emotional in all this process of reviewing a precious piece of past I can't revisit or alter, but I kept rubbing my eyes till I lost the precious contact in one and spent the last half hour doing that awkward eyeball roll you do in the mirror when you are trying to find something stuck in the window of your soul.  

I think there's room for a box of letters in this house, right?  Worse comes to worse, I'll scan 'em into a hard drive or something techy like that.  :)

"Behold, I am doing something new... I will make a way in the wilderness 
and rivers in the desert." 
Isaiah 43:19

1 comment:

  1. Old letters are fun. I always have to laugh as what the young me wrote about.