My mother does not do the Internet. She gave it a shot, and she might try it again down the line, but she is an old school communicator.
My mother understands the power of a note, beautifully written, on fine card stock. She appreciates the enclosed article, artfully cut from a magazine, folded with care, and inserted into the envelope. She appreciates meeting the day with the twenty paces back and forth to the mailbox.
These things are superior to the email or text message, hastily composed without thought to grammar, ending with a hyperlink to that same article online.
And so I am, periodically, in receipt of my mother’s finely crafted cards and letters, most of which include a little something extra: an article on investing for retirement, a photograph of family, or an exceptional recipe, for instance.
Last month, I received this old newspaper clipping from March, 1969. Behold the young scouts, planning for an international Jamboree:
Yes, that’s me, circled in blue, in what appears to resemble traditional Greek garb.
Oh, the things our mothers save. Items held high with pride, then tucked away with love, a timeline stored in any variety of albums and drawers and boxes. They’re rediscovered in small increments over time, jogging the memory, recasting older lives in newer, softer lights.
I have no recollection of this moment in time, however. Nada. No recollection of this jamboree, this article, or the rehearsals leading up to it. As it happens, neither does my mom, and we had a pretty good laugh over it.
Oh, the things our mothers save. Sometimes, as with this item, the greatest value is not in the memory it prompts, but in the act of saving itself.
Now, as an adult, I find that I save every one of her cards and letters to me as well, tucked into my own drawers and filing cabinets, small offerings of love from mom which I now leave purposefully scattered for accidental discovery one day down the line. I’ve often wished she’d taken to email, but I’m increasingly glad for her choice. I’d have deleted most of those emails over time; survivors would have been easily located on my computer, and where’s the fun in that? There’d be no mark of her of perfect penmanship, and I would miss the carefully chosen cards and paper.
It’s my mom’s birthday today. Happy birthday, mom. Thanks for everything you’ve ever saved.
The card is in the mail.