I needed to find my birth certificate yesterday so I went went hunting for the box with my important papers -- you know, all those things you saved thinking you might need them? I was pretty sure it was stashed in my little den that I rarely use except to store my bookcases (filled with books, of course) and my old computer. I was lucky -- I found the box almost immediately and began the search for my birth certificate and found it fairly quickly. Whew! I breathed a sigh of relief because I wasn't going to have to send a $15 check to Huron County. My Scottish ancestry's frugality kicks in when I see what it costs for documents that are rightfully mine but that's another blog (read: rant).
While I was at it, I decided to take the time to clean out said box as I hadn't looked in it for a couple years. I found all sorts of paperwork from various aspects of my life the past 9 years and discarded most of it filling a large trash bag. There were pictures I'd long forgotten, my children's baptism and first communion certificates, my diplomas from high school and college and assorted other mementos of the past. I found a group photo from my 25-year high school reunion and couldn't find myself in the picture which, more or less, defines where I was in high school apart from being a top student. Needless to say, I've passed on attending such events ever since. I was delighted to find the recommendation letters my professors wrote for me when I graduated from college -- and marvelled at the woman they knew. I felt a tad bereft because I wish I was the woman they saw -- especially the one from dear "Uncle Paddy", my wonderfully brilliant and witty (in 6 languages!) advisor and Spanish professor.
What really amazed me was coming across a few manila folders. I am not sure how they got there because I don't remember taking them with me when hastily I fled my marriage almost 9 years ago -- at the time I simply grabbed some folders and envelopes and computer disks I thought important and split . The top one was labelled "Inkscratchings" and it stopped me cold. After staring at it for a few minutes I opened it and there was the poetry I wrote in high school and college; each carefully recopied on notebook paper in the careful, neat hand I had in those years. Tears came to my eyes as I read through the sheets trying to remember the girl who wrote them and how she felt. I wish I could tell you it was great poetry -- it wasn't. It wasn't bad poetry either. It was an expression of a life far behind me -- it covered everything from free verse rants to silly rhymed satires to musings on that illusive thing called love. My mother was known for looking through our stuff and I recall her telling me I was silly to write it but I never let her stop me -- I just learned to hide it from her better.
I found another folder with copies of my published short story as well some beginnings of other projects I'd been working on when I made my departure. Another folder was labelled "The Great American Novel" and contained a rough outline of the book I may finish someday. And a there was a third folder.
The first couple years I was back on my own, I didn't have a computer. I couldn't afford one and other needs had to take priority. Still, I had the need to write so as the spirit moved me, I scribbled in various and sundry notebooks and as my life twisted and turned, they wound up in the box and were forgotten when I finally got a computer. I sat and read them thinking, "Hey -- this isn't bad . . . I wonder what's going to happen next . . . and started laughing like the crazy woman I am. I can tell you what's going to happen next. I'm going to have to type all this stuff into my computer and get it integrated into the Great American Novel! Who knows? I might even find out what happens next, and even better, how it ends!
I organized the box before putting it back on the shelf in my den -- mercifully lighter -- and spent a good deal of the day reflecting on it and its contents as well as the girl and woman I once was and will never be again. Hopefully, this visit from my past will help me deal with who I am now and will empower me in my efforts to be truly happy with myself. If not, oh well! I'll muddle along as usual.
Thanks for letting me share this with y'all!!!!!!!!