Dusty Memories; Hoarding Unrequited Love

Dear Jamie, Followers and Passing Bloggers, 

I am writing an article to you in a letter format because I want to effectively convey my thoughts on hoarding our love letters from adolescent years. How long is too long to keep them in a box somewhere up in the attic or down in the basement collecting dust? Should we reconsider scrap-booking to show our own children the days of puppy love?

In an era of technological change in communication, who considers themselves as a pen pal anymore? The cost for postal stamps is the catalyst hindering a traditional form of expression and admiration. Family and friends are now sending out Christmas postcards with a recent family picture as the postcard image. How many Christmas cards will you be sending out this year? Do you think Santa will feel the burden of the U.S. Postal Service? Children will have to save their wish lists on their computers and electronically send them out in time for Santa’s delivery!

The military families experience tedious battles of long distant relationships with the exchange of letters. There is also an exchange of uncertainty and fear, imagining that this letter could be the last one sent from them. I would like to take this moment to acknowledge the troops and their families. God bless you all for the strength and patience that you have achieved over the last few years. Stay strong and come back home soon.

Conveniently logging on to the Internet is a matter of seconds, the anticipation for another letter in the mail is invaluable. I was only twelve years old when I started chatting online in AOL chat rooms. There were only a few friends that wanted to write to me and send me a couple awkward school pictures enclosed in their letters. A decade later, I am still in contact with only two of those young women. They both have amazing partners, and I wish them the best of luck.

It is unfortunate that you cannot meet everyone you have known for several years over the Internet. However, you make the best of it in any situation and communicate with each other every other day.

In The Notebook (2004), a romantic love story between a poor, passionate man and a young, beautiful rich woman has changed the film industry forever. Allie Hamilton and Noah Calhoun face the challenges of a long distant relationship and the ineffective communication limited to the exchange of 365 written letters – every day for a year.

I have several letters from wonderful people across the United States. If I counted them all, I doubt I have more than three hundred of them. I have their love notes, adorably embarrassing pictures, and cards from different holidays. In high school, I have exchanged letters and notes throughout the school day with my peers. After going back down Memory Lane, I realized that I would feel empty and lost inside if I threw away everything. I could never detach myself from the homemade birthday cards to the letters suggesting that “I screwed your sister cause you’ re not worthy of my bangage [sic]!” The preserved inside jokes and the untold stories can bring back more than just rekindled emotions. You cannot relive the past, but you can carry the best experiences with you, especially if they are in written form. The minute you read a letter from the past or possibly right after a break-up, you have to ask yourself how you feel about keeping these letters of sentimental value. Would you rather let the past slip away through your fingers or do you frame the experiences that helped you become who you are today?

Saying Goodbye

How do we remove something from our lives that holds so much sentimental value? How can we replace those empty boxes that held the best written stories stocked up awaiting for another rainy day to enjoy them? Would you reconsider writing a romance novel from them?

Kalisha Buckhanon, author of Upstate, introduces a powerful and motivating love story told through the exchange of letters between a young teenage couple, Antonio and Natasha, during the 1990’s in New York. While Antonio’s accusation for a shocking crime went viral, the love for each other was also being testified. How long will absence grow the heart fonder? Well, I am not much of a spoiler when I review books, but Buckhanon conveys a poetic image at the end of her story when Natasha decides whether she will keep the letters or toss them away. It is a very intriguing book. If you did not read this in high school, please do it now.

Shredded Love, Toasted Hearts

Many businesses and households are buying shredders to remove their confidential documents and legal records for anyone who decides to rummage through the recycle bin. This temporary shred will only cut the paper in multiple strips, while another trend of removing personal documents may just spark an idea.

My dad is a pyromaniac who has managed to slip away from becoming an arsonist by following town ordinances on fire safety. I believe fire would be more of a symbolic and temporary rush. It would be poetic in the sense where a temporary burning desire starts off slow across the pieces of paper, eventually engulfed with warmth and rage. Then, the letters shrivel up and deteriorate into ashes. Whether you felt that the relationship would still have the potential to rekindle or not, that is entirely your decision. It is never too late to rekindle potential feelings, unless there is significant emotional damage and baggage from that relationship. If you know it would be a waste of time, push it aside.

I am not ready to burn a part of my past, but I do move on from everything that has happened. I can burn my research papers, but I would never analyze how much my writing has improved in the last eight years. I can burn everything I have received from past relationships, excluding materialistic gifts, but I cannot shred or burn the sentimental value that everything uniquely has on its own. Yes, Teddy, you’re still staying with me.

If something written to you a while ago still grabs you and hugs you tight, why should you let that go? Embrace those feelings and return back to them when you need them the most. If you kept something from the past that causes conflict in your current relationship or lifestyle, step away from the risks involved. Whether you are obsessively stalking someone on Facebook or Twitter, or telling their partners that they still care about you and not them, consider yourself warned.

Don’t Hate, Donate

If you have materialistic items from your past sitting on your bed since the first time you received them, keep them. If they are still in great condition,  stuffed animals are always welcomed for a generous donation to children hospitals or daycare centers. Ask around and see where you can drop them off. Although I would also consider having a yard sale, most of the people who stop by here in my neighborhood are looking for pet toys. Unless you have a sadistic sense of humor, I would suggest reserving Mr. Snuggles for a child who really wants him to come home that day. I am sure Mr. Snuggles would not mind at all, especially far away as possible  from the other misfit toys that still linger from your childhood.

Do you still have love letters, teddy bears or their jacket you borrowed? Comment below and tell me all about it!

Also, ask yourself if you could take those items and dispose of them properly, how would you do it? Did you remove them from your life before? How did you do it, and would you change the way you took matters in your own hands?

Until next time, take care.

Sincerely, 

Tony 

Dusty Memories; Hoarding Unrequited Love

44 thoughts on “Dusty Memories; Hoarding Unrequited Love

  1. I have never written a love letter but I have received many. Over the years they have traveled with me, not with the intention of keeping them but, as I come across those words of devotion I feel hope. A few have been lost along the way not unlike like the love they spoke of but I remember each and everyone.
    I believe time will take them from me when the need to linger in those past loving moments is gone.
    Thank you for the smile on my face

    1. It tickles me inside when my friends still have my letters and pictures. So, knowing that documentation of my past is still out there, it gives me a sense of identity. This could be a personal or historical identity, but somewhere out in the world … a part of me takes up more space than I ever imagined. It is truly inspiring that you do keep them with you with the understanding that whatever happens – happens. However, I do agree. There will be a time in life for everyone to ask, “Why are you still here?” My mom and dad still kept a few items with sentimental value before they were even together. Yearbooks are definitely priceless, but having something beyond a witty comment from them – that changes everything. Thanks for stopping by. It was a pleasure to put that smile, and the future of all the other smiles, on your face.

      1. godgoesonablinddatewithscience says:

        “Well, if there isn’t life on other kissing planets…it sure is an awful waste of space.”

        Do forgive me when I say…I think I have fallen in love with your mind.

  2. I have saved one love letter. It is a love letter my father wrote my mother from prison. I keep it in a plastic sandwich bag in my nightstand. It was written in the early 70s.

    1. Oh, that’s amazing how you preserved it over four decades! That’s truly inspirational. Now, let alone the suggestion about scrapbooks, but even as simple as a plastic sandwich bag can still be the most effective and conservative approach. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Take care.

  3. i nearly cried reading this because it made me hold in current memory every piece of emotive and symbolic possession i still have in my possession (read i am a horder) and why i will never get rid of any of it, barring divine act of god and in that case what can one do lol. even the ugly things that just do not match the current decor😛 this piece really touched me in a beautiful way and it has made me feel really really good reading it as i smile and remember pleasantries and passions and laughter gone by. you have the gift. let is shine🙂

    1. Beautifully said! I am glad I could touch a soft spot from within. Oh, I know how that goes with decor. My sister, fourteen years old, always reminds my parents that we should reconsider a new interior design around the house. Keep smiling.😉

  4. Victoria says:

    I am not a very sentimental person when it comes to things. I like my space to be as clean & simple as possible. I did come across an old love letter the other day. I don’t even remember tucking it in the bag I found it in. 7 years later I read it & melted. Haha. It is now safe in a small box where I keep a few sentimental things.

    1. Aw, that’s very inspirational. Less is always more! Maybe that’s another idea to ask ourselves. If we could take five sentimental things in our lives with us to our grave, what would they be and why? Thanks for sharing your thoughts this evening!

  5. There’s a lot to be said for the (handwritten) word…something of a lost art. I know my own (once graceful) penmanship has suffered tremendously.

    I keep every birthday card…but the love letters exist only in my heart.

    1. Ah, very deep. I completely understand how the quality of your penmanship can gradually decline over the years. We were taught how to write cursive only to sign important documents or slips. It is unfortunate that we cannot write in cursive the way we were taught. We only know the letters of our name. Thanks for stopping by. Take care.

  6. I believe this hits a nerve in most of us sentimental types🙂 I too have letters and memories from long forgotten crushes. And I keep most cards – sometimes because of the message, or the giver and sometimes just because it is a pretty card and could be recycled into a homemade card (which I will do someday).

    1. Yes, the message is usually what pushes it aside for significant importance and sentimental value. The giver, possibly a friend or family member, is the essential part of that reason. Then, seeing the physical beauty of the card itself, and the price they paid, definitely an incentive to keep it. For the rest .. this is a laugh for the day. “Ah, throw that shitaway!” That’s a great idea and suggestion. Very conservative. Thanks for your time.

  7. Just wanted to say thanks for stopping by my blog for a quick visit earlier. This is a cute blog, but I can’t say as I ever received a love letter so I guess I can’t really add to to the conversation. I have received a card or two from my hubby or one of my kids with something sweet and sentimental in it, and yes…. I’ve kept those… what wife or mom wouldn’t…LOL😀

    1. LOL, thanks for the response back, mom. I know exactly what you mean. My mom keeps everything my sister and I have done in school since we could paint with our fingers! It was a pleasure to have you participate in the conversation with something to contribute. Take care.🙂

  8. Well, well, well, we meet again Tony :p

    Job well done. I like the “song title” opener and the entire thing is written wonderfully. Bravo my new friend.

    So yes, to answer the question you’ve posed, I do or did have some handwritten letters. When my children’s dad and I were dating he wrote me all of the time because we lived about 2 hours a part. I had saved them and a few years ago I finally dug them up and gave them to my three grown children to do with whatever they wanted.

    I kept them initially because it was the sweet and sentimental thing to do. I kept them beyond that for my kids’ sake so they would one day have a window into the man their father was before he let drugs take over his life. I think it’s good for them to see this and to also see that he did love their mother very much, at ;east before he loved drugs more. Those letters are the start of my children’s life. A written history so to speak.

    The others I have and will always keep and are actually a series of post it notes. I didn’t save these, my Mother did. They were notes I had left her. She always ended every visit or phone call with “I love you MORE” or simply the word “more”. If we were on the phone she would say “more” and immediately hang up so as to have the last word. It was a game with her that she coerced me into playing my whole life. One day, about 10 years before she died I was at her house and she wasn’t there so I wrote all kinds of “more” and “I love you more” messages on a dozen or so post it notes and put them in a bunch f random places through out her house. We laughed about it each time she came across one. I never knew she had saved them all until after she died last year. My daughter found them when we were going through her things after the death and put them away. She didn’t tell me until on my Mom’s birthday a few months later when she gave them to me. Of course my daughter knew they were from me because she and I (and my other two kids) all play the “Iove you more” game now too.

    1. Ah, my lovely lady stops by to say hello! Oh, thank you so much for noticing. Your response leaves me speechless, yet I am going to type at the same time. I noticed this trend with all the responses – the distinction between historical sentimental value vs. personal sentimental value. We keep things for the future sake of preservation, like pursuing my suggestion earlier with scrapbooking, but with the core objective of providing historical significance for the prospective family generations. Then, as you mentioned, the personal significance is what helped establish the idea to save them for the historical value. I am glad we can all agree with the same understanding.

      Now, the story behind your mother is truly inspiring and very moving. The legacy continues with your children and that really shows a lot of pride and family value. I am so glad to learn more about you through my articles. This was a very rewarding opportunity. Thank you so much, dear.

    1. Thank you so much! Oh, fascinating! For those who can write and express their feelings in ink or pencil, or sometimes fine tip markers … now those are interesting letters, … and can continue writing them without being “spoiled” from the technological convenience … it is truly amazing how much we can discover from written text. It fascinates me when some women will heart their i’s, or bubble their i’s, while others will draw along the sides of the paper. It shows so much character. Thanks for stopping by. Take care!

      1. I think the value in a letter is to read it over and over, and discern the meanings between the lines. The waiting the postal service creates, forces deeper thought and that lovely emotion, anticipation.

      2. Yes, precisely right! There is so much to discover and even the mailman loves the attention you’re receiving, especially if she uses awkward stickers on the envelopes or she is off by a few cents for postage. Ok, maybe he will let the last one go for two letters but then it’s coming out of your pocket. My dad raised me to give more during the holidays over the mail. My “puppy love” resulted to receiving a giant Easter bunny with many other gifts. You’d think we were married. My parents come from a long distant relationship, so being the product of one, I can’t disagree with it. I love the feeling that the heart really does grow fonder through all this anticipation.

  9. Rose Sabia says:

    I’ve kept a greeting card from each of my grandmothers, great women of their day, just to see their handwriting. When I look at the “Dear Rosanne” and “Love, Grandma Gemma or Love, Grandma Rose”, I can hear their voices saying the words. The memory of their voices, the sound, the tone and the love I hear now is why I kept those two cards. Written words carry more than an idea or description of a situation. It carries the voice, the essence, a visual picture in time of who that person was who wrote it.

    1. Beautifully said. If you’ve been following the discussion throughout the comments and responses back on here, there is a great emphasis on the significant importance beyond the text. We push aside the distinction between historical sentimental value and personal sentimental value. The simplistic reasons are acknowledged. In your situation, it is not only a historical or personal value, but beyond that as a truly inspiring impact. Thank you for sharing, dear.

  10. Tony I submitted the link to this story here http://www.opednews.com/index.php. I have been writing for them for about 6 years now and for every story I write them they will publish a link to another story I ferer to them. They just published this one of mine http://cherispeak.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/6-ways-to-flirt-with-your-wife-instead-of-me/ this morning so I went ahead and tossed your wonderful story into the fray. I would image they will post it as a quick link back to your site here within the next 24 hours (sometimes they are really quick, sometimes it can take up to 48 hrs). The site has hundreds of thousands of monthly readers so I am sure you will get some serious hits etc.

  11. Oh, wow, I just found your article on their website! That is incredibly awesome. Dedication and commitment – I knew you were my cup of tea; sweet, light and full of inspiration. Wow, I’m speechless, yet I have so much to say. Wait, let me jump out of my seat and run over to your place for a long, enjoyable hug! That will ease out the tension of enthusiasm. I guess I will have to split your name between the naughty AND nice list this year. Mmm, rawr.😉

  12. You’ve got a lot of neat ideas! I have several military friends and have written them so many letter’s over the past five years or so that I’ve lost count. I treasure the few letters the boys do write back!

    Also, thanks for checking out my blog! I’m glad you liked the short story!

  13. Hi Prinze, you certainly have a great way of expressing yourself. You make an excellent writer. This is a very touching post. I wanted to thank you for visiting my blog and for following. Blessings, Elizabeth

Speak your heart, proofread your mind.

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