I am one of those people that don't have the heart to throw away cards. I have even made up rules for myself because of the volumes of them that I have. The rules for keeping cards are: 1) Never ever throw away a card from a grandchild. 2) Never ever throw away a card from my husband. 3) Cards that have letters either written on them or in them are saved. Why? I know my fellow genealogists will agree that those will one day be considered a historical record. So those must be kept for the future. 4) Hand made cards are also kept because the person that made them took their time to do it for me. When I follow my rules I eliminate a lot of my clutter. But, how do I apply this rule to the boxes of cards my Momma saved? Somehow the rules seemed to change for me as I started going through them. I actually felt physically ill at the thought of throwing away her memories. Not the memory of her, but her memories. As I went through them a conversation she and I had had about her photo albums came back to me. With tears in her eyes she told me to just dump them. That they wouldn't mean anything to anybody. It broke my heart to hear her talk this way, like her life experiences weren't important. Is that true? Do our memories only belong to us? I guess for me the pictures are a record of her life and the things that she did and enjoyed. I don't know that the occasional picture of a lion or giraffe hold a lot of significance to her life story, however, pictures that show the places she visited or people she shared her life with certainly do. The problem for me isn't so much keeping them, because believe me I can't part with them – at least not right now. The problem is where do I put them all? I have stacks and stacks of my own memorabilia and adding hers to mine is overwhelming. I'm seriously thinking that since I have a slide show business that I may take them and create a living history slide show with them in the future.
I think you can tell a lot about a persons thoughts and beliefs by the things they keep tucked in books. Of course there are always those things that you have no clue why they were saved. My Grandmother and my Momma were “clippers”. You know, people that clip things out of newspapers or magazines and put them inside their Bibles or a special book. They're usually something that they wanted to remember or that touched their hearts. I believe I could take all the clippings that were saved and make a road map of how to live a spirit filled life, one with purpose and meaning.
In the end it's not really about the things we have kept but how our lives were lived. We hold on to these small treasures not because they have value, but because they hold a memory of those special moments in our lives. And when that person is out of our reach it's a tangible thing we can touch, hold and remember. Will the next generation find the true value of these treasures? I can't answer that. I only hope that the next “keeper” of the treasure will know the stories behind them and find the value of them. Right now I don't know for sure who that “keeper” will be, but I'm sure one day my heart will tell me.
The only real treasure amongst my Momma's things was Momma herself. I only hope I told her often enough that she knew it.
In the memorial slide show that I created for Momma I included a prayer I found in the clippings that she had saved. I'll share it with you here as my final thought.
“I remember thee in this solemn hour, my dear Mother.
I remember the days when thou didst dwell on earth,
and thy tender love watched over me like a guardian angel.
Thou hast gone from me,
but the bond which unites our souls
can never be severed,
thine image lives within my heart.
May the merciful Father reward thee
for they faithfulness and kindness thou
hast ever shown me;
may he lift up the light of his countenance
upon thee and grant the eternal peace!”
Please click on this link to watch the slide show - click here - For Momma - Memorial Slide show - as with all slide shows they are best when viewed in full screen. Don't forget to turn off the playlist music on the right hand side of this page.