The Remnants of Box #1
An undated Christmas card that says, “I’m so glad to have a friend who has cared so deeply for such a long time. I’m so thankful for you.”
An undated birthday card calling me “sis” and telling me how much I mean to her.
A birthday card from 2006 telling me I am a blessing in her life and “let’s promise each other we’ll always have time for cake…and wine!”
An Easter card telling me that every holiday there is something that reminds her of me, like the muguets, palm leaves, and penguins, but she doesn’t need any of those reminders because she thinks of me always.
Some little momentos from Medieval Times, a dinner show, which we went to see in Texas, in the summer of 2006. Also that summer we visited Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and I have a souvenir book from there.
A mini, 16 month calendar from the Flavia collection, with special sayings on each month. I recall that I used to send her e-cards from the Flavia website because their cards were so different and had meaningful words on them.
A handmade, red heart created from two pieces of construction paper and hand stitched together around the outer edge and filled with quotations printed on little white hearts. The first random quote I pulled out reads: “There are only two people who can tell you the truth about yourself - an enemy who has lost his temper and a friend who loves you dearly.” Antishenes
Under another Valentine’s Day card I find pictures of Marie and her children from years ago, they were still babies. I had forgotten I had them.
Then there is an airline ticket, yellowed with age, from a trip I took to visit Marie in March 2002. Why did I save that? That must have been the time I took the Easter trip when I brought the baskets and fillers for the kids. Now I also remember that we all went to Easter service together. Marie was in the church choir during the first years when we met and she went to practice every week. She had a beautiful voice and was performing a solo on Easter Sunday. That was another reason why I looked forward to this trip, I wanted to hear her sing in the church I had heard so much about. And that was also the trip she had presented me with the backpack, encouraging me to go back to school to study French, which I eventually did. Another very thoughtful thing she did was to make me crosses from the palm leaves given out at church on Palm Sunday. I had told her how my father always used to make them every year. She said she wanted to make sure I still had them, even now, after my father was gone. I was very touched by the sentiment. No one would think of doing something like that.
Another Christmas card that reads: To my sister, “Whenever I think of people who have encouraged me the most, I think of you. And I say a prayer of thanks that God put us both into the same corner of His beautiful world.”
Here is a card that says she misses me with a handwritten note in French. It came with the keychain she bought for me on her first day of class at the four year university. I still use it today.
Another a birthday card that says, “I’m glad we’re sisters.”
One year, near Christmas time, I sent her a tape I had made of myself reciting two stories my father would tell me, in Italian, to get me to eat my soft boiled egg, when I was two years old. She had loved listening to the stories so much when I told them to her that I knew she would appreciate being able to listen to them whenever she wanted. That Christmas, after we opened our presents, she said I have one more present for you…then she proceeded to recite one of my father’s stories, from memory, back to me (even though she never took a class in Italian). She knew I would never be able to hear my father recite them for me again, and she wanted to do something special for me in his memory.
A small photo album filled with pictures of her first trip to New York City and all the things we did that week.
A bracelet made of dark gray metal beads, one of the first things she ever sent to me. It was wrapped in yellow material and tied with a maroon thread. She was working at a festival one weekend, thought of me and picked it up.
The first book I sent to Marie on that first Christmas was Le Petit Prince, and I had a favorite chapter, number 21, about the fox. The chapter was really about the meaning of friendship and I had always loved the sweet way the author expressed it. For my birthday, Marie made a tape of herself reading that chapter in French and sent it to me, knowing that it would be better than anything she could buy in a store.
More old airline stubs and momentos from her first trip to NYC: playbills from The Full Monty, Phantom of the Opera, restaurant menus, brochures from Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Opera House, The Empire State Building, the Long Island Wineries, ticket stubs, subway maps…I really saved just about everything, didn’t I?
Oh and here is a program from her first graduation from the two year college in 2001. She came up to visit me for the first time a couple of days later. She brought me the program because she knew I would want to have it.
At the bottom of the box I found quite a few handwritten and typed notes, one saying “you’re one of those people that make life beautiful and bearable for everyone.” Other notes that thanked me, ones expressing appreciation for different things I had done and some for just always being there for her. There was a note reminded me of the time she had to take a class in the evening one semester, because she had to work during the day. No one was available to watch her children, who were still fairly young at the time. I told her if I lived there I would certainly do it. Then I told her, if she felt okay with it, I could call and check on the kids every 15 to 30 minutes and they could call me if they needed to. I was so far away, but this was the best I could do, so that she could attend her class with some peace of mind. I took down the numbers of her sisters, mom, and the local emergency/police department and I had her number. And that’s what she ended up doing. She would go to class and I would keep calling and checking on the kids till she got out of class. It may not have been the smartest thing we ever did, but she would not have been able to graduate without that class.
And finally here are some cassettes of her favorite French cds that she wanted to share with me.
So as far as I can tell, this box seems to have gone from 2006 back in time to 1999 when we met. That is what I can make out from the dates on some things and the order that I took them out. Nothing I saw or read from the box upset me, but it just makes me wonder all the more what she was thinking that last year and what changed. The answer is one I will never know.
Now I have to decide what, if anything, I should keep and what to dispose of. I wonder if she still has any of the things I sent her over the years?