Friday, July 13, 2012

The Package

My step-mother called and said she mailed a package for me.  She was going through my father's possessions and was clearing out what she didn't want anymore.  She said anything he had that came before her has no meaning for her.  But she was very excited to tell me that she found pictures of my grandmother and grandfather from long ago.  She had some things of my father too that she wanted me to have.  Curiously, she said she had some pictures of me.  I wasn't sure what that was about.  But I wanted to see these things!  Oh, I couldn't wait to get this package, a link to my mysterious past.

It seemed like I should have received the package at the time of our conversation.  It had been 10 days!  I know it had to travel across the country, but that seemed too long.  I asked for specifics.  Where did she mail it?  Did she include a return address?  (She didn't remember.)  Did she take it into the post office?  (No, she dropped it in a box.  So it hadn't been weighed for postage.)  Oh, no.  This wasn't looking good.  I actually called the Nevada post office near her house to ask about it.  The woman was not helpful.  She said if it was not addressed properly or had insufficient postage it might be sent to "Dead Letter" in Kentucky and then there would be no way to find it.  What a disappointment.  Then I stopped by our post office and the man told me no way they just send it off to nowhere-land for not having enough postage.  He said I would be notified.  He said don't worry.  Okay, so I waited longer.

My son Nick was here and I was telling him the story.  The mailman pulled up and Nick looked outside.  He said, "You have two packages!"  I rushed to the window and the mailman was bringing two Amazon boxes to the door.  For the first time ever I was not happy to get Amazon boxes.  Then Nick said, "He is stuffing something in the mailbox!"  I raced out the door and yes, there it was!  A white padded envelope, stained like it had been on a long journey, the front scribbled with shaky writing.  My package!

Carefully, I opened the envelope.  A multitude of artifacts spilled out.  There were many, many pictures, most carefully labeled, going as far back as my grandmother as a baby.  A group shot of three generations of women, and then one of the men.  Childhood pictures of my father with his parents and sister.  A studio picture of my father as a young man and also a formal picture of my great-grandfather when he was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army.  There were several photos of a lookout station where my father lived temporarily to watch for forest fires.  Football letters from high school, athletic awards, and ribbons my father won for pigeon racing! I never knew about that.  

The pictures of me were most intriguing.  The backs were carefully documented with time and place, and they were pictures I recognized!  My mother has these same pictures.  But the handwriting on the back I recognized as my grandmother's.   She was the one sending my father pictures of me.  But he did save them all these years.  Arielle, intuitive daughter that she is, reminded me of that fact.  

What a treasure!  I am so grateful to my step-mother for giving them to me.  She could have just tossed them out.  But now I have a few bits and pieces of my history to be passed down to my children.


Anonymous said...

Deb, just catching up today. How could I have missed that your father passed? I'm so sorry, not for the loss of what you had, but for the loss of what might have been. May your faith give you peace.

Love always,

Deb said...

Thanks, June. The whole thing is just so strange. I had a father again for 6 months, and now he's gone.