May 10, 2012
A few years ago, I was faced with the task of cleaning out my mother’s house after she passed away. While difficult, it led me to a wonderful discovery. Tucked away in her attic was large, metal footlocker that I had never seen before. In it was a treasure trove of memories … all on paper.
Unknown to me, mom kept every card and letter I had sent her since childhood. She had even tucked away a series of silly little notes we had exchanged about my “first boyfriend” in elementary school. I also found pieces of my life that I thought were long gone – my baptismal certificate, school projects and short stories that I had written as a budding young writer in junior high school. She had also clipped every mention of me in print, from by-lined articles to news stories where I was quoted as spokesperson. In addition, I found family photos and never-before-seen documents that helped shed an interesting light on her ancestry.
As I looked through these items again recently, I wondered how many cherished mother-daughter memories would have been lost if they originated on a computer. What today’s electronic world gives us in speed and geographic reach just can’t replace the visceral experience of holding a loved one’s very personal mementos in your hands. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t live without my computer. But the value of paper in our lives shouldn’t be underestimated.
And by the way, don’t forget to mail your mom a Mother’s Day card this week … and write a nice note inside. She’ll enjoy opening it and years from now you may find, as I did, that it means much more to her than you think!
Kathi Rowzie is Two Sides guest blogger. She is a sustainability communications consultant with The Gagliardi Group in Memphis, TN.