Between my fifteen year anniversary just around the corner and the ridiculous amount of time I spend on Facebook I’ve become curious about memories. I, of course, remember the big things that happened, I just don’t always remember what led up to them. And I wonder why certain things played out as they did. At 33, I’m young enough to remember life before e-mail and AIM. Way back in my day we used these tools called pen and paper. I was surprised and thrilled at what I’ve kept along the way.
It may help that I enjoy writing. I spent two years on my high school paper and a year on my college paper and my elective courses were in literature, so more writing. It would also help that the vast majority of my friends and experiences evolved from the connections I made in those classes and in the newsrooms. I have a file box of almost every paper from all three years I worked on a newspaper staff.
I also have notes I passed in high school, from bantering back and forth with girlfriends, to coded plots passed between Todd and I (I have copies from him). Most recently I found every note I got from my boyfriend senior year, including the note I passed him, and he passed back, asking him out. I have letters and cards from friends, and one very enlightening note from the guy I was – what do they call it now? -hanging out with – before Carl. Some are happy memories, others sad, but they all paint a picture of the person I was and what others thought of me.
It occurred to me, after going through my own paper-trail that my girls will probably never have that. Between e-mail, IM’s and texting no one writes things down like they used to. Sure they can save what they get, even what they send, but somehow I just don’t think it will be the same. The details in a written letter, the handwriting, the drawings, even how the note is folded, are just as important as the words themselves. Without the power of pen and paper they will never reach into a box, dig out a scribbled on, torn off sheet of paper with a mere sentence on it that takes them back to a moment in time and makes it come alive.