Moving to Florida from Oregon the year I turned 14 was one of the Hardest things I have ever done. At that age your friends are your world. Leaving them all behind with no real plans of ever returning was so painful. I was not just leaving my friends behind, I was leaving my life behind. The Pacific North West is much MUCH different than The East Coast. I had lived in the same town my whole life and it was a small college town. Liberal ideas and free spirits, freedom to roam the downtown area, the safety of knowing every single person since you were 2 or so.
One thing kept me tied to my past and helped me through some rough times. Letters.
I have carried these boxes around for nearly 15 years. Not all of them. As I received more letters I had to add boxes. Some have every birthday card I have gotten since age 12. A few are from Prison when one of my friends was doing his time. All of my baby shower cards, Harper’s 1st and 2nd birthday cards, romantic cards to and from my husband. But most of them are from one person.
Before I moved to Florida, I got in a bit of trouble…. as teenagers do. I had a really
over reactive Protective mother who grounded me for a year, starting 3 months before I moved. This was not done to hurt me at the time, I was totally starting my pattern of being out of control. She was just trying to Protect me. My friend started writing me letters then, starting in 1999 (though I have school notes from her as far back as 1998)
Through these letters, she has kept me connected to where I come from, comforted me, letting me know she loves me and that we will always be friends. Though these letters, we have had boyfriends, heartbreaks, moves, losses, weddings, name changes, children, home ownership, stress and life.
They have contained art, laughs, surprises, gifts and once a lock of her deep blue hair. (I still have it, yes I know its creepy!)
In between the letters have been countless packages for all occasions, but mostly just because. I still have the Punk/Ska mixed tape play list. I have no idea what happened to the tape, but when I hear any of the 50 or so songs from this tape, it brings me back!
Some times letters come every week, sometimes months go by. My favorite thing is to open the mail box and see that familiar handwriting.
These letters mean so much to me for so many reasons. This is a part of my history. The other half is with her. I will have these for the rest of my life and one day my kid might be interested in them enough to go through them. And long after I am gone it will be a link to my past. Her and I both have Facebook, email, phones…. we never stopped writing letters.
(though you can see some of the addresses written on the letters, neither of us live at any of those you can read)
Do you have something that is a link to your past? Something that brings you “Home” or a collection that you treasure?