Monday, July 30, 2012

Keeping the Keepsakes

I've been in a closet-cleaning mood for a few days now, going through plastic bins and seeing what's inside, hoping to clear any clutter and find a little more space. Progress is being made, but I get so distracted when strolling down Memory Lane. I love discovering things I forgot I kept.

Most of the things bring a smilelike my picture from the first grade and oodles of my school work. Other things, however, leave me sighing and feeling sad. So many of my "treasures" remind me of what was lost after divorce storms came ashore.

First was my sister's divorce, after 26 years of marriage—another blog for another day. And then came my own in 2002.

Some ex-wives might have pitched any reminders by now, but the way I see it, these tangible pieces are part of who I am. Good, bad or ugly, they help tell the story of me: A girl named Gayle, who married a guy named Charles in 1982.

The wedding plans are written neatly on lined paper of white. The venue. The music. The guest list. The gift list.  Shower pics. Wedding pics. Honeymoon pics. Our first bank statement as husband and wife. Our first grocery list.

Further down in the stack are basal body temperature charts I painstakingly maintained, hoping to conceive. A list of baby names is close by.

Further down is the baby announcement, heralding the good news, along with piles, and piles, and PILES of greeting cards from family and friends, wishing us well with our new baby girl.

From there, the years rushed by, and the stash of treasures grew.

One bin. Two bins. Three bins. Four.

Part of me feels silly keeping the keepsakes, year, after year, after year. But another part of me—the schmaltzy part, I guess—hopes future generations will care enough to rummage through it all one day and discover things they never knew...about a girl named Gayle, who married a guy named Charles in 1982. ♦


  1. To throw out pieces of major history is like losing a part of yourself. And it doesn't change the truth. Personally, I'm glad your keepsakes are staying put.

  2. I have a tightness in my throat with this one. Maybe it's the way you ended it. I think you are so right to save it all. Wayyyy back in high school, I read a poem (written about a high school break up, but it fits much better for a marriage one) It started out "In pieces and pages I boxed us away." That's what I was thinking reading this.

    The divorce storm has come to shore in my family too, and it felt more like a hurricane or tsunami.

  3. Gayle, the scattered pieces & tidbits of our past, painful or not are such a composite of us. It is as if a jigsaw puzzle is complete when all those small pieces are there but it loses it's powerful message of completeness when one or several of those little cuts of paper are gone. Loved this so much. God bless.

  4. Sweet, sentimental heart! All of those pieces ~ wise to keep them, I think :)

  5. Oh Gayle, you'll never know how much this struck a chord!
    Some days, I pull out certain memorabilia, knowing hot tears will fall and my heart will ache. Then, I'm reminded of a quote (can't recall the source) about revisiting that which hurts ... but it reminds us that (at least) we FEEL.
    I've no doubt that someday your daughter will bless you time and again for keeping these keepsakes.