Some of the things I inherited when my mother died about 16 years ago were a few dusty boxes of photographs. The boxes had resided in her attic for, well, … forever. After her death, the boxes resided in my basement until they were moved to the House by the Parkway (South).
A few days ago, I began the process of going through the photographs to see what was worth keeping, discarding the then-obligatory scenery shots, which with a black and white snapshot camera were almost always a waste of film. (Yes, “film.” Ring a bell?)
Anyway, when looking at old photographs, it’s easy to become lost in a bit of melancholy – images frozen from the past, when people, now dead, were alive and when those who are still alive are much older and beginning to consider what happens at the end of the line.
As I was lost in the nostalgic moment, I came across my sixth-grade class photo. It was an 8 x 10 picture of Mrs. Marshall’s class, professionally shot. If you wanted the picture, you brought your money into school and weeks later you would receive your photo. It came in a folder that looked like a single-picture album, which is to say that there was a thin cardboard-like cover, which when opened showed the photo framed in the same kind of thin cardboard-like material. The “cover” of the single-photo album bore the title “Treasured Memories.” Got it?
On the inside cover, as a sixth grader, I had written the name of each student who appeared in the photo. As I examined the photo, I was pleased to see that I could have named each kid without the help of the names I had written with a clumsy hand so long ago. Seeing all the faces and knowing that several of those pictured are no longer alive, I harkened back to the title of the album thinking that these were indeed “Treasured Memories.” I also thought fondly that my mother must have felt this way as well, for, after all, she took the trouble of saving the photo for all those years.
Having spent a few more moments lost in mine and my mother’s “Treasured Memories,” I flipped the album over and took a look at the back and saw the following my mother’s handwritten note in pencil:
Your socks are in the dryer.
I howled with laughter. So much for “Treasured Memories.”
The deal was that it was matter of my working mother, probably running out the door at some ridiculous hour of the morning to spend the next eight hours in a factory, who was unable to find a piece of paper and who wanted to leave a critical message to her still sleeping and potentially sockless, sixth-grader son.
I like to think that she somehow knows that she made my day today with the note she left me more than fifty years ago.
Treasured Memories, for sure.