So, this last month has just been a lot of fun, and part of that fun has been moving out of my public studio. I have a room set up in our house to function as my studio, but it is definitely limited in terms of space, so I have also opted to rent a storage unit which can function as a space for those things and tasks I don’t need every day but are important. Like packaging, framing, cutting… those kinds of things. At first, it made me feel like I hold on to too much, but truth be told- I need the space. And I spent some time putting proper shelves in there, and really planning out how to use the space so that it feels not only functional, but kind of awesome.
Anyway. In moving, I’ve also had to come face to face with some of my old stuff. You know.. The stuff from my younger years; boxes filled with kids toys that I haven’t thought about at all but when I see them they bring me great joy and comfort, random journals with out of context entries leaving me wondering what the hell I was doing in my early 20’s, and, of course, a shoebox or two of every single letter and card I’ve ever received.
Going through “stuff” can feel overwhelming, so I just pick out a couple of items, bring them back to the house with me and start siphoning through them. One day, I grabbed a random mailing envelope with what looked to be a bunch of random stuff from over 10 years ago. And… I was right. Bank statements from an account I haven’t had for, again, over 10 years. A random letter about.. Insurance? And then, there was the kicker. An envelope addressed to me from my father.
Having just lost my dad in July, seeing his handwriting now stops me in my tracks. It is an architect’s handwriting- all capitals, very neat lines spaced evenly apart. My name. Honestly, it is a work of art, which might be a weird thing to say, but here I am saying it. He also had this funny period of time where he didn’t put the return address in the upper left corner like you are supposed to, but he put it along the left edge. He also *always* added an extra stamp. Just a funny bit of personality.
It is hard, monstrously hard, to know I’ll never receive one of those letters or cards again. Dad sent a lot of cards for holidays, and they oscillated between completely silly and also long and thoughtful. But, I will tell you what. I am so glad, so so so very grateful, that I have kept all of those cards from him. I know how time moves along, I know how memories fade, and I know how keepsakes can keep memories and ideas alive. And for some reason, a person’s handwriting really keeps them alive.
So, out of this pile of scrap, I pulled the envelope and have now hung it on my new studio wall, so that I can feel like I am receiving that love letter from my father every single day. So that I can appreciate the effort he put into keeping in touch with me, and showing me I was cared for and loved. And, there is a good chance, I will definitely never ever let another note card from a friend or family member slip into the trash again. After all, they really don’t take up that much space.
And, as always, in an effort to make this a two way dialogue, I'd LOVE to hear about a time you found a meaningful treasure among the stuff. <3