In a case of life imitating art, my husband and I spent this past weekend sifting through the contents of our storage unit, where many old photos and family mementos were stored. As in my latest, the just-released The Diary, in which grown sisters cleaning out their mom’s attic find an old diary of their mom’s, we came across old letters and, yes, even some diaries. No shocking revelations, as in The Diary, but it was an interesting trip down memory lane nonetheless. For one thing, I got to see photos of several of my husband’s old girlfriends. They could have been my sisters! So true what they say about men always going for the same type. Also uncovered was a cache of family photos from when my husband, Sandy was a boy. There were old school report cards and drawings of my children’s as well. Aside from bringing the occasional tear to my eye, it was a reminder of how quickly time passes. My son and daughter are in their thirties now.
In penning The Diary I was reminded, too, of how important it is to retain those family memories, especially those that are in oral rather than tangible form. How I wish for another year, or even a day, to talk to my mom about her past life. I wish, too, that my grandmother hadn’t passed away before I was able to get a full account of her history, in her own words. Like the stuff cleared out of our storage unit that didn’t hold up - victims of decay, water damage, and mice - those memories often become warped or altered in some other way through multiple retellings. So I urge you, if your parents are still alive, not to waste any more time in sitting down with them and getting them to talk about the things you always wanted to know but might have been afraid to ask about. Sometimes it’s good just to sit and listen as they ramble - there can be gold in them thar hills.
We walked away from this past weekend’s chore dirty and with sore backs, but with full hearts and a treasure trove of memories. Wishing you the same, without the dirt and sore backs!