Monday, November 28, 2005


This past weekend at my parents' house I started a long overdue project - to clear all of my junk out of their house. My parents, God bless them, are the most sentimental people I know. Particularly my Dad. When they made the move to Arizona 9 years ago, I was in college. Instead of dumping all of my cherished letters, mementoes, and knicknacks into the dumpster, my Dad took everythingto AZ, in nicely labeled archive boxes. I decided it was about time to liberate my parents from junk they do not need and I do not want. I only made it through two boxes this weekend (there are at least 10 more), but here is what I found.

First was the box of correspondence received during middle and high school. There were a few cards from elementary school, too,

but I know the majority of the older cards are lurking in another archive box. I hope to find some more during the next visit and make a collage or something (ok, so maybe it's not so easy to get rid of this stuff).

I have to show you the inside of the "Just For You" card

Apparently during the course of writing the card, Jamie's feelings for me shifted from "love" to "like." She does, however, appear to love peanuts without question.

Then, it was on to the later years. Oh, the drama! Letters from friends talking about boys they liked, friends they didn't, and how their parents just did not understand them. I can sorta understand my Dad's logic for holding onto the actual letters and cards, but this was too much!

I'm sure you can tell from the complicated origami folds (much more complicated than I remember - I could not figure out how to fold some of them back to take this picture!) and cutesy writing these are bona fide high school notes. Written during class, or sometimes the night before so you could be ahead of the note-swapping game, these are very pointless but entertaining glimpses into about 10 teenage girls' minds. These notes do not express the emotion of the letters I received in the mail. Instead, the notes are all the random thoughts that might run through a young girl's head during a 45-minute chemistry class put to paper. You may be surprised to find out that we all graduated at the top of our class, as it appears we did not pay much attention during our actual classes.

The most entertaining aspect of the notes was to see my "development," from Jenny (childlike) to Jennifer (sophisticated) to Jen (friendly). I remember requesting, via notes, of course, that my friends acknowledge my maturing sense of self. I also spent some time as "Belinda" and "Amber" (alter egos, to escape the humiliation of having one of the most common female Gen-X names), and Earth Muffin/Muffin/Muffy (a nickname given to me by my first real boyfriend during my hippie stage, later shortened by my friends). The letters and notes were very entertaining to read again, but this Earth Muffin felt it was time to send them on to the recycle bin. Most of the knicknacks are headed to Goodwill, though I will be posting a few things on Ebay in an attempt to boost up my feedback score of 1, and to stop using BT's "manly" Ebay account to buy silly things like fabric and yarn and crochet flower looms.

I may regret my decision to part with these pieces of my past, but right now I feel good that my parents might finally have enough room to store their own mementoes in their own neatly labeled archive
boxes. There were a couple items I could not part with. This tea set, for one

And this pin

because I still am, the World's Greatest Roller Skater.

Finally, a thank you to my Dad. I appreciate you caring for my stuff all these years. I hope that you see this as an opportunity to utilize your closet space better, and keep the things that are meaningful to you. I love you a lot, you old packrat!

To everyone else
Jenny aka Jennifer aka Amber aka Belinda aka Earth Muffin aka Muffin aka Muffy aka Jen


telfair said...

That is an incredible post. It must have been so crazy to go through all of those memories!! I can't imagine what it would feel like. You sound like an archaeologist. I wish I had kept things like that...I would love to be able to go back and see who I was, then.

telfair said...

By the way, the "peanut" sticker in that card, and your comment about it, made me laugh out loud!...

my house is cuter than yours said...

I am not alone! yeah! I have saved all my notes from middle and high school also! I plan on reading them and tossing them real soon to free up space though as you did! And I also cracked up about the 'I love you, I like you...I love peanuts' story. Maybe that would have been one letter to save for a laugh!

woof nanny said...

I remember how to do that fold!! I just used some of my stuff in collages. The rest I want to make a paper quilt with. I think it's awesome they saved it all. I wouldn't throw it away either. Decluttering is over-rated.