Sunday, January 29, 2012

What a Mother Saves

Recently while I was going through a cardboard box in my basement full of "mementos" from my past, I found quite a few surprises, a lot of junk, and some memories that I had forgotten.  Part of the box had school newspapers, old yearbooks, the senior play booklet with my part identified on the front, a scrapbook falling apart and filled with tickets, napkins, and photos of places I went.  There was even my green freshman beanie from Purdue . . . hard to believe we really wore them . . .  as well as a news article about the elimination of "hours" at the women's dorms. No doubt about it, these were items that I had chosen to save, but mixed in were items that obviously came from my mother . . . report cards, newspaper clippings of my accomplishments and awards, every letter I wrote home from college, and photos that I don't remember ever seeing.  I sorted through the jumbled mess that had resided undisturbed in my basement for the past 15 years. Can it really have been that long since my mother died? I tossed half of what I saved but none of what she had collected over the years.  Her instincts were better than mine when it came to what was important.

Then near the bottom of the box covered with dust and the crumbled remains of a corsage was the photo below.  Most people would never save a photo in this condition . . . but my mother did.

It looks like it became wet at some point in time but by the time it was discovered, the majority of the picture must have stuck to whatever was on top.  Still she peeled it off and saved it.  

This is a photo of my first communion at Holy Savior Catholic School in Wichita, Kansas. It would have been about 1954-1955. I am not exactly sure because I don't remember how old I was when I had my first communion.  I know this was in Wichita, and I went to school in Indiana for third grade after my parent's divorce.
  As I looked closer at this half picture with moldy dots on the remaining section, I could see clearly that the girl with the dark hair in the front row was. . .  ME!   I was still in the photo.  What are the odds??  I am positive that my mother made my communion dress because she always made all of my clothes.
 I would love to find a complete copy of this photo, but, if not, I will cherish it as it is.

What did your mother save?


  1. What a very special save and a matching very special find.

  2. I love this -- and I love that your mother saved all of your letters from college. A week ago, I started a private blog that only my daughter and I can view. I'm reposting her college emails to me. They are hilarious 15 years later. I'm lucky that she was in college when email was really the popular thing and before cell phones were in everyone's hand. BTW -- your mother was quite the seamstress.

  3. Superb post! What a treasure and one of my favorite themes. What we find in those boxes says so much about who our parents and grandparents are.

  4. Hi again, Margel. Been away a while from your blog, but this photo (and the one with you in the glasses) deserves a comment. So great that your mom saved all this for you. I think you know that my Mom saved a ton as well -- diaries she wrote from age 10- her death; all letters she ever wrote to us kids (she made carbon copies for her files) as well as what we wrote to her -- so I can revisit my youth. I can read what she and Dad wrote to each other from 1950-1962 when he traveled; Their greeting cards were wrapped, tied with a ribbon, and labeled in bunches. Of course all our kid photos. The one weird thing she was going to toss was all our family 8mm films when they got wet in a basement flood. I grabbed them back (luckily Ii was there), re-soaked them, strung them out on nails in the basement and dried them out. Barely damaged! and almost in the trash. Darling Communion photo. Glad the mold didn't get to YOU!