Saturday, March 11, 2017

Our album of Christmas photos

Album of Christmas greetings.  College roommate Dora and her family
 Our project of looking at an album every evening is moving rather slowly.  We're not doing them in any order--so Thursday evening we did our September 2015 trip in Spain--Madrid, Cordoba, Granada, Murcia, etc.  Then last night we did the album of friends made over the years who sent photos with their Christmas cards. If we have earlier photos such as high school friends for both of us—Dick Green and Duke Low for Bob, and JoElla, Sylvia and Lynne for me—I’ve included those too. But I noticed that there were no photos after 2008. So today I got down the box of Christmas letters I save (I have trouble throwing away the printed/written word) and pulled out the photos, writing on them which I should have been doing long ago and matching up to the letters.

So I also spent some time rereading the letters, but not as much as I thought I would. My eyes would sort of glaze over and soon the trips to Europe from Nelson Potter, Jr. and the grandchildren from Lakeside neighbors who were were 3 in 2008 and 10 in 2016, and the career changes of Marie Peterson’s son, the move to Colorado or Florida, and the pets who died since the last letter, and weddings of children and grandchildren and how they said good-bye to grandma, and the obituaries of the Crabbs all started to bunch together. It’s stirred up the memory of Mom and I going through all the letters and cards in 1983 that Grandma Bessie saved, reading them once, and then disposing of them or returning them to sender. Then I did it for Mom’s letters and cards in 2000 after her death, taking home all the letters (about 40 years) I’d written to them. So. . . I will probably shred the letters now to save my daughter that job.  I knew the people who had sent cards and letters to my mother and grandmother.  If I can’t bring myself to re-read the letters of friends who were fine in 2008 and now have Alzheimer’s Disease and don’t know their own kids, I’m sure I’m doing my daughter a favor by giving them a proper, respectful burial now.

The prompt today from Tweetspeak, a poetry site, was "Things Invisible." Those letters and cards were invisible in the guest room closet, stored on the top shelf in a green basket. I didn't have to think about them.

Things Invisible Poetry Prompt from Tweetspeak
Old Christmas letters, cards and photos.
The basket was in the closet for years.
Invisible since placed there.
Visible only when I added more.
Then things became invisible again.

I took it down from the top shelf.
Sneezed a little from the dust.
Struggled past the seasonal clothes,
ornament boxes waiting for next year,
Wrapping paper, sacks, and ribbons.

Sisters, brothers, aunts, and parents.
College roommates, business partners,
Lakeside neighbors, cruising colleagues,
In-laws, cousins once or twice removed.
Nieces, nephews, her cats and his dogs.

Babies born now twenty eight,
Businesses launched now closed.
Pintos and spaniels at Rainbow Bridge.
Career changes, tenure, promotion,
Divorces, weddings, and Alzheimer’s.

Trains across the Canadian Rockies,
Ships around Alaska’s glaciers,
Log cabin in the Wisconsin woods,
Hiking and biking through Arizona.
RV parks in Florida, cello concerts in Michigan.

A fall off a step at his son’s home,
Hospice now for sister Barbara,
Chemo recovery, tests are good.
How long has it been since we saw you,
Let’s get together after New Year.

My old bones pause on the step ladder,
Old memories folded together.
Blending 2016, 2010,
1987, thirty years.
Things become invisible again.

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