Thursday, July 24, 2008

Don't open that file folder!

Reading letters from dear friends is an amazing thing. It's like seeing a side of that person that you never get to see. Your writing/typing dialogue is not the same as your conversational dialogue (except mine. mine totally is. very schizo and kinda dumb.), and in writing, you get to say things exactly the way you want. Add to that the letter being from a friend from your past, and what you get is a flood of emotions. Add to THAT that the letter itself is old, and you have good, old-fashioned nostalgia.

I have a file cabinet in my bedroom, the contents being every important document I've ever wanted to keep. One file contains every phone list I've ever had (from camps, churches, school, what-have-you), and another has every card and letter and note that has been given to me by friends and family that have been important enough to keep. Now, I'm not a packrat. I toss things after a while, and a lot of times cards get thrown out. Not that I don't love them, but in 20 years, I'm not going to remember half of the random people that gave me valentines in 1999.

But the good ones, I keep, and last night, they came out. Understand, I am a very nostalgic person, and have often struggled with feeling guilty about not keeping up with people, even though I know they didn't keep up with me either. Even my very closest friends don't hear from me that much. Ask Jo. (I love you, though.) So opening this folder last night was...wierd. There were quite a few birthday cards and Christmas cards, tossable except for the fact that they were funny or from a dear friend. There were definitely some that I tossed immediately (need to check this thing more often). And there were a couple of long letters from various people. An amazing letter from my brother to me while I was in Colorado in 2000, telling me how proud he was of me. A letter from my friend Tysen apologizing for being an ass to me for an entire year and asking for forgiveness (I did). A letter from Jo wrote in college to our entire circle of friends telling us each how special we were to her (I think she may have been drunk). (Just kidding. It was an amazing letter, and I re-read it three times.)

And then I ran across some cards from a couple of friends that I made in Colorado named Kate and Chris. These two were the most amazing people, and despite my meager efforts, I lost touch not long after I got back to Georgia. I think more than any other people, I regret losing these guys the most. So what do I do? I dig through my phone lists and (finally) find an old number of hers. I grab my crappy cell phone and dial, totally expecting that in eight years, she's probably left her parents house. So when the lady answers and I tell her I'm looking for Kate, she of course says that Kate doesn't live here anymore because she's married, etc. So I tell her, "well, we were friends in Colorado, so if she feels like calling me back, tell her it's Video Pat." "VIDEO PAT!! I REMEMBER YOU!!" Very good feeling. (oh, right. video pat because i was the camp video tech for the summer. i basically made a 30-minute movie every week.) We talked for a few minutes, and she tells me how to find them on the interweb (facebook of course), and says that she'd give her the message tomorrow (today). So, I'm waiting for the phone to ring.

The moral of the story is, well, a) don't start reading a bunch of letters when you are trying to clean your room because it takes too long and then you don't finish. And 2)...well, i guess, keep up with people that are important. It's easier to call after one month than it is to call after eight years.


Bree said...

1. Absolutely.
2. Read my blog. The video cuts to exactly what you wrote about memory, and contact, and friendship.

Kristen said...

In the words of Yogi Berra (think baseball not picnic baskets), reading this is "like deja vu all over again." :)

Sadly, I do not have a file cabinet (probably 95% of the reason for that is that I am not a lawyer-in-training. Also I move a lot.), so all of my cards/letters/etc. that were/are worth saving are in one of two places: 1. a metal box in my roommate's junk room. 2. lined up all arty-like on the windowsill in my bedroom. The more recent/important ones are in location 2. And before you ask: yes, your cards/drawings/etc. are in location 2. :)

Well blogged, Bea.

Jo said...

I love you, Pat! I still believe all those things to be true plus a zillion more things I've learned about each of you since that letter. You guys (plus my family) are all my favorite people in this whole world.