Friday, September 17, 2010

Our First Date

Our first date was September 17. It was a Friday that year also. The weather was perfectly sunny and crisp. It was a day just like today.

I thought it would be fun to go out tonight and do something sort of special...just a way to kind of remember that evening so many years ago. But life and work adds demands and so we can reminisce in other ways.

I still love to be with him and do things together. It doesn't really matter what or where it is.

That year he had a light blue 1976 Cutlass Supreme. It was a sharp car I thought! Off we went. The sun was setting at a brilliant angle and the sun visors were of no use. I still remember both of us trying to see the road in front of us by shielding the sun with our hands.
He stole my heart and I never looked back! Fortunately he gave me his heart in return!
A few weeks ago one of my boxes of keepsake papers and cards and miscellaneous mementos were ruined by rain and I found them just as they were beginning to mold. There was a very random assortment of things in the box, like school papers written by little boyish hands and letters from family that I hold so dear and words written by special friends. There were cards from when our little girl was born and one of my baby pictures. The rainy wetness in the box had set into mold and my tears began to flow as I spread the papers on every flat surface I could find. I felt the brokenness of the passage of time and the sting of being so busy that I lack time for many things that matter to me. In those moments the essence of everything that the box held, felt dear to me.
The immediate "whys", like why did I move the box where it could be damaged and why didn't I get it sooner and why didn't I have all these things "scrapbooked" like so many of the beautiful ones I've seen, lead to deeper and more silent thoughts and questions of the "whys of life". Most of the "whys of life" can't be answered I suppose, but my box was ruined while I was doing my very very best taking care of the pressing immediate things that were my responsibility. Just like you, many times my time is not my own to do as I please or work on a project of my choice.
And so as I huddled on the floor with tears pooling in my eyes and running down my cheeks I was blinking and sniffing as I tried to see the photo I had just uncovered. In it I could see my husband (then my boyfriend) just as cute as could be and directly beside him was a smeared water stained blot. Below the blot I recognized one of the outfits that I wore back then. Gone were my brown curls and silly smile.
At that moment my husband walked in. Without speaking I handed him the photo. His immediate reply was, "That's our first date!" Apparently someone had snapped a photo of us that evening and then later gave it to us. I have no idea who took the photo. All I wanted to do was throw the picture in the trash and run down the street wailing to the top of my lungs. I didn't however! Instead I realized that with all of the smears and water blots, it's still a remnant of a special memory. So now the photo is dry and maybe in 28 years it will find its' way to a scrapbook and my greatgrandkids can wonder why greatgrandmomma's curly brown hair and silly smile is smeared from the photo.
If I'm around I will tell them the story of how the photo came to be smeared and what a wonderful man their greatgranddad is and that life is sometimes full of smears.
Yes, life is that way. There may be blots and smears and tons of unanswered whys along the way, but still life can be filled with special memories and fleeting moments to cherish.
My mother would often say, "Rachel always do YOUR best and if you've done YOUR best then that is all you can do. The rest will take care of itself." So whatever comes and goes if I know I've done MY best, then I leave God with the rest.
Each day I try to do MY best and let that be enough.
Sigh~it's a process.


Donna Lynn said...

Rachel, I do understand your sadness over this loss, I recently went through our photos. I was doing some ancestry stuff online, and found a bunch of mine smelled like mildew, I held them in my hands and thought, no one will understand what these mean to me...ever! Then this thought, that's OK, I do, God does, and one day soon when I am gone...I won't be around to see what happens to them, and I won't be spending one second on worry then anyway! Made me stop and realize that all we are, all we dream, all we think will still be in heaven with us, and so will the people in those precious pictures! That is even better! I felt light and right again.

The curly brown haired girl is still standing by her man, this long haired girl is too! Love you dear friend, keep your chin up, all is not lost!

Karla @ Ramblin' Roads said...

Happy anniversary of your first date! I am so sorry about the damage to your box of keepsakes. I would have cried, too. I hope you were able to dry out most things to save, even if they aren't in the best condition.

For the past 2 or 3 months I have been frantically working on scanning some and typing up some of the many boxes of letters Mother has saved. (Every letter she has received for the past 50 years, I do believe!) Most are from your mother, of course. I'm nearly finished with 1964, and I know you'll enjoy reading those.

Gotta go for now. Chat more later! Call me when you get a chance.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the memories. This story reminds me of the following quote...

"If you live long enough, life will trash your trophies."-Dr. James C. Dobson

I still remember the cute girl with the curly brown hair that got smudged in the picture. I've enjoyed the 'real life' version for 28 years, and I still love life with you.

1437 Mr. RP

Donnie said...

Rachel, I will always admire the way you can get your feelings into words. You will always have the memories of those times in your mind and can see them anytime you wish.
Cherish the memories even without any pictures.
Love you, Donnie

My Grama's Soul said...

Hello ......just found you via your other blog....oh my this one is so post was so very well put and so very important in today's busy world.

Thank you


Yellow Rose Arbor said...

Even though this is a bittersweet story, it has sweet memories still.

I'm trying to think of something to make you feel a little better about this, but can't! At least the picture isn't totally gone, such as with a fire, etc. And you still have a good memory! Maybe you should print out this post and put it with the picture!

Have you thought about keeping a journal and documenting things? I have a "Journal Jar" that has hundreds of questions pertaining to my life, etc. I try to pull out one a day, or one or two a week, and answer the question, then place it in a box for my children/grandchildren to read someday.

Congratulations! Glad you remember the exact day of your first date, I don't! LOL!

Have a happy week!


Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Rachel, you are just one of the dearest people...and your recovery from the disappointing and upsetting discovery was wonderful. Things like that happen. So many of my things, love letters, just precious things have just seemed to vanish of the face of the earth. Things I cherished and took care of.
Like you, I did what I thought was my best and your mother was right. Do your best and that is all you can do. Don't spend a single moment...regretting or blaming yourself for something that just accidently happened.

Thank God it is only some ruined keepsakes...and nothing worse.
I do have a suggestion though..and this comes from experience. Take a couple of minutes...and jot down the story behind the photo..and why you are is always a good thing. Put it in a nice envelope...
No one knows what the future will bring. I have learned that from experience.
Hugs and love,

Rebecca said...

When I was in high we rented a tri-level home in Colorado while my dad took some classes at the Bible College there. There was storage underneath the 2nd level and my parents used it as sort of a 'garage' and kept things in there that needed to be closeted away. Well...the pipes burst one winter and tons and tons of our family photos were lost forever. Given the fact we only had a few it is a miracle we have anything today that survived.

So...when I long for pictures of my childhood it's easy to become disappointed for there are only a handful on the planet. Then I'm reminded that what remains is all that matters. Our health, joy, faith, family and love.

Yes...all is well.

Blessings to you my friend.


Paul said...

Dear Rachel, 2 words WOW!! and dittos!! love, Paul

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Tiffany said...

Ohhh, my heart is so with you on this. I felt the sickness well up as I read about your precious keepsakes being ruined. But, yes, you are right. Life is sometimes smeared. And, yes, it's definitely a process.

Kathryn Bechen said...

So sorry about the loss of your photos Rachel, and your mama is right; you did your best. So glad that you still have your wonderful hubby to live life with and love, and that he has you in return. Blessings. Kathryn

Jean Tuthill said...

I am so sorry to hear about your box of keepsakes being ruined. But no one can take the memories from your heart. And you are making new memories every day. You and your Sweetie have them together and that's love. And you both are so lucky for it.

Keith said...

Hi Rachel,You always have such a wonderful view of life and it's happenings. Keep it up. Keith

{Bellamere Cottage} said...

Rachel... I'm sooo sorry to hear about your picture disaster. Pictures are so precious, aren't they? I ruined a huge box of pictures too.. It is heartbreaking. What a wonderful attitude you have about it though.... good for you.