Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The lost art of the "note".....

I was reorganizing a shelf and I came across a super sized manilla envelope with my name penciled across the front. I had forgotten that I put this envelope aside well over a year ago, but the memories came rushing back as soon as I saw it. I remember more about my teenage life because of this envelope. Things that I had long ago let fade away are now funny, sad and pathetic memories, many of them are moments that I would never have gotten thanks to my addiction to Diet Coke. And, of course, the fact that I am approaching 40.

This envelope came from the mother of my best friend since 10th grade. Sadly, my friend died in a horrible car accident 13 years ago. I've been in touch with her mom over the years, though not very often, but we met a little over a year ago and she presented me with this envelope of "notes" that I had written to my friend. She had saved every scrap of paper I had ever given her, movie tickets, concert stubs, receipts...everything. She was the kind of friend that I find myself longing to find these days. She was completely invested in our friendship, she was the kind of friend that I could call anytime and not worry one ounce about the fact that I might be bothersome to her busy life.

There are a lot of memories that I have of days, nights, weekends and parties with my friend, but there was SO much that I couldn't possibly remember it all. There was also a lot of alcohol consumption which managed to fade away remembrances of places & events. But this envelope is chock full of notes and letters where I spilled my heart out to my kindred spirit. Thoughts of boredom, struggles, plans, fantasies....and, best of all, love. Love for my friends and love for all those stupid, stupid boys that I thought loved me back. The letters date from 10th grade all the way through my college years....and even the first introduction to my HUNK. Talk about a blast from the past. I'd long forgotten that I was struggling to decide between two guys when I met him -he almost didn't make the cut!!

The notes are all different and each carry their own distinctive clue to the mood of the day. Some are funny, some are serious, some are wildly stupid. Some are done with a dot matrix printer and clip art that makes me laugh. They are like small time capsules of my life. And I realized that my girls won't have anything like this. It's kind of strange to think that the hopes and dreams that they are sharing with their friends are lost in Facebook chat or a deleted text log. Not to mention that a typed message certainly doesn't hold the context, mood or feeling behind a message. There are no doodles, no puffy hearts and no Ziggy stickers.

I remember putting so much thought into most of my notes - I was forever drawing things around the borders, looking for perfect stickers and folding them just right for discreet passing in the classroom. I also remember getting in trouble for reading notes when I should've been working, hurting feelings by writing something down that got into the wrong hands and being embarrassed when my mom found a note from a boy talking about sex. The notes were good, but they could also be a tangible reference of ignorance and stupidity.

I didn't keep notes from friends, there were a few that got put inside a book along the way, but most were long since thrown away. I did keep all the letters and notes that I got from Hunk while we were in college. The very first letters were before we started dating, when I was trying to get his attention. It didn't seem to be working out too well, and he was in the desert for Operation Desert Storm/Strike war. I was still at school and I was casually dating other guys. I tried my best to get him to notice me before he was activated, but it just didn't pan out. I didn't give up and I sent him letters and care packages to the desert throughout his tour. Luckily, he started to catch on through my letter 'flirting'. He started writing back to me and our love developed through our letters. When he returned we were immediately 'together'. I have all those letters, stacked in order, and tied with ribbons stashed away with the many love notes that followed once we were officially dating. I don't really do anything with them, but on an off chance that I'm in our storage area I might pick one up and re-read it, bringing a wave of emotion and nostalgia....those letters can re-ignite the spark in a flash. Hunk can probably pinpoint the days I've come across an old love note by the way I ravage him when he walks through the door. It's definately a wonderful archive to have after 19 years together.

I think it's a sad thing that the 'note' is falling by the wayside while our kids send texts and hold conversations in chat. I suppose Facebook will be their memory lane, but I wonder how far back it saves -does your wall ever wipe clean? Is there an archive? I'm all about the electronic world, but this envelope just made me stop and think today. It also made me think about the fact that someday I'll be approaching 80 and since I don't write notes to Hunk any longer I guess I'll get nostalgic looking back at my blog while I float around on my hover chair.