The Star Tribune featured mothers' remembrances today, including one mother who memorialized her child's butt cheeks in green ink for her baby book. So very glad am I that my mother did not do such a thing for me, although having been the one to go through all her letters and papers, I'd have had the final word as I shredded it, as I certainly would have done. Sentiment has its limits.
My mother saved letters. Actually, she saved everything, but that's another story. She stored things in our home of 54 years, setting them away in the basement, the attic, various closets and the storage spaces under the eaves around the attic, not to mention the garage, carriage house and shed. She saved what appeared to be pretty much all of my father's love letters to her over a period of the six or seven years he was in law school and was courting her, the only woman he could ever love. He fell in love with her when she was his high school English teacher and was never seriously interested in anyone else. Mother's oldest brother, it seems, had also saved every personal letter he ever received, and mother had conscientiously saved these too, although she probably never read any of them.
Mother also saved my letters, from the time of my leaving home for college until about ten years ago or so. I haven't started to look over these letters, as they are, I'm pretty sure, mundane and dull. I have now looked through all of my father's love letters and reviewed my Uncle Harry's stuff to glean information about my mother's life before me. Mother didn't dwell in the past, as she was always more interested in the future - where she might travel and what adventures she might have.
Mother died a year ago January and this month is the fifth anniversary of my father's death. Most of the letters she saved are now shredded, as she requested when she allowed me to read them, saying, "They're awfully mushy, you know," and they were, sometimes tediously so. I spent time this winter writing down my memories of her life based on this information and on our many, many long talks together. My best friend all my life, Mother remains a big part of my daily thoughts and prayers. I believe she and my father watch over me still.