I came upon a musty, slate blue leather binder today, the kind with a zipper around the edge. It has pockets inside with gold letters that say Answered and Unanswered, and a tiny calendar from 1938.
It belonged to my mother and inside was a short, sweet letter from Guy. “I would like very much like to see you again,” he says.
It was 1941 and he was in the army, stationed in England. As a child I remember looking through the big box of pictures under her bed. There was one of a handsome young soldier with Love, Guy written on the back.
Even after 50 years of marriage she never parted with that photo, or I now realize…this letter.
But I am purging my office, on a mission to get rid of stacks of paper, old teaching materials, junk mail, etc. etc. and I have put the letter and the musty zipper pouch in the trash.
There were also some terrible sentimental poems she had written, and a Western Union telegraph wishing her a Happy Birthday from Daphne.
My mother was not famous.
No one will want to read her old letters from a boy she didn’t marry.
Or her tender poetry.
I wonder if he made it home from those years in Europe. And did they ever see each other again?
Is he still alive?
And I think now, I will have to retrieve this package from the trash after all to save just a while longer.
And buy a slightly bigger bandana.
(I have a fantasy that someday I will so successfully reduce the clutter in my life that all my belongings will fit neatly in a bandana tied to a stick that fits comfortably on my shoulder.)