Me and my stuff

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I keep stuff. Lots of stuff. Cards, ticket stubs, childhood toys. You name it, I've probably kept it. I've moved about 6 times in my life and each time I've tried to clean house before the move but things usually get thrown in boxes to sort through at "another time". I don't know why I keep it all.

My latest attempt at streamlining my life unveiled letters from 1978 that I received from my Pen Pals. There was an organization called the International Youth Service that matched up kids all over the world to encourage international relations. At the beginning of the year, we would get a form asking us if we wanted to participate and if we did, we chose the country our Pal would be in and whether they would be a boy or a girl. I always chose "girl" and United Kingdom.

I would eagerly await my assignment and couldn't wait to sit down and write my first letter. My initial pairing was with a girl named Catherine, who lived in Wales. She sent me a picture of her and her brother and we corresponded a few times but that was about it.

My second Pal was a fun girl named Allison, who lived in Harrogate England. Her letters were always multiple pages long and she had great stories to tell. She would send me pictures and clippings of things going on around town and I always looked forward to her letters. Through them, I escaped to another world.

Allison never sent me a picture of herself but I envisioned her as a 70's mod chick who strolled along Abbey Road and bumped into Paul McCartney on the street. Did I mention I was a huge Beatles fan and obsessed with everything England when I was younger?

I don't know if kids do this sort of thing anymore. You know, pen pals. I'm guessing that something as simple as letter writing is probably just an antiquated thing that your parents did a hundred years ago. And, of course, why wait weeks for a letter when you can turn on your computer and be connected instantly?

I'm glad I grew up when I did. When things were simple and getting a letter from across the pond was the highlight of my week. Those times really made me appreciate things and it's fun to go back and relive them once in a while.

I think I just figured out why I keep all my stuff.

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