It was quite the week for those of us in northern Indiana. How will we remember it? Cars didn’t start, kids didn’t go to school, and hardships were aplenty! I was one of the lucky ones. I shopped early for the necessities…coffee, milk, good wine. (I did forget the chocolate though!) And I prepared for frozen pipes and drains. When this old house was built, there was, of course, no running water. With all of that added later, it is a bit fragile to the environment and often I lose water or even drains. This year I added a small heater, dripped all the faucets and got up in the dark and dead of night to check everything.
With the house holding up, and everything canceled, what was there to do? I baked bread. I cleaned closets. I wrote stories. I played the ukulele. I did play around with science experiments by tossing boiling water into the air to make clouds and blowing bubbles outside to watch them freeze. I tried to film it, but that was impossible to film and blow bubbles. (I am sure Larry and Cheri wondered about my sanity in the cold as I tried these experiments every few hours!) But I needed a big project to prove I didn’t sit around and let the cold win.
Come take a journey with me. Come on in. Let’s take a walk down the hallway in the kitchen. This wall became a litany of stories and cards beginning with the day I moved in which was 17 years ago. But the wall was full. The cards were dusty, and it was time for a face lift. I bought a quart of gold paint from Sherman Williams to motivate me. (Okay I bought the paint two months ago, but stay with me now!) With the temperature way below zero and no one to talk to, I decided it was time to take down the cards.
The truth is, I didn’t expect it to take all day, and I didn’t expect to let memories and stories flood my soul, but that is exactly what happened. I pulled down card after card, letter by letter. All were attached by thumb tacks or staples so I had to tug quite hard for some of them! I held each card in my hand, dusted it off and remembered the person, the story, or the event. There were letters from friends and family who have passed on. Letters and funny stories from my dad in his handwriting. My friends, Fred and Midge Munds in Indianapolis who encouraged my work and always laughed at my stories, left me stories and letters.
There were love letters from long ago boyfriends. There were letters from friends who wished me happy birthday, or a welcome card to my new house. Aaron had the most letters to me. Mother’s day cards. Birthday cards and even a postcard from his single days in Alaska. There were notes from my other sons too and their girlfriends and wives. Underneath all of the cards was a card from Randy and Shannon Wallace welcoming me to my new house. I remember coming into this house the day I got the keys. Shannon left this card along with scented soap and a bottle of wine.
As I held each card, I had to decide which ones I should keep and the ones I should toss away. It was an easy choice. Each card which included a note or a letter was put into a large empty box. Those cards with just signatures had to find their way out. By the end of the day, the box was full.
In the afternoon Lee came over to begin the painting. There was a lovely letter from his daughter, Mackenzie. She must have been six or seven. We could not read her words and laughed trying to decipher what she was saying! This year Mackenzie will graduate with her PhD. Time moves on for all of us.
The best part of that day was to remember folks, even though it was only 17 years in the making.
I put a note in the box for my children to find some day. “Please read every card. You will know me a little better when you are finished.” And I put the box away.
Hand-written letters. Let’s not forget how important they are in a world of technology!
Yes, it was quite the week for folks in northern Indiana.