A Box of Memories

For the past 2 years, I walked in and out of the basement to the car and passed an old, musty leather suitcase wrapped in that airport plastic hoping that it’s just an apparition I saw.  This suitcase was brought over all the way from Istanbul; its contents were about a hundred audio cassette tapes that belonged to my DH in his more youthful long haired days (and one old, smelly, torn jacket from the 80’s – lets not even go there).  I begged and pleaded for him not to drag miles of audio tape across the ocean, that he would never listen to them and where the heck would we put it?  He, being the sentimental person he is, said those tapes (and the jacket) had memories and he had to keep them.  The suitcase resided at my mom’s house for some time…out of site, out of mind.  A couple of years ago she said that it had to go and in the basement it went.  I had high hopes that DH would open it and organize its contents in a safe place because these were very important after all.  Much to my dismay, the bag just sat there until last week when I bought some bins to house the prized cassettes and threw out the luggage once and for all.  Upon opening the circa 1970’s suitcase, among the many cassettes stood an old shoe box.  Inside the shoe box were all the letters I had written him when we were long distance dating, all the pictures I had sent, even the envelopes they came in.  It was quite surreal to see the words I had written 10 years ago on stationary I had picked right back in my own hands and so comforting to know that he kept all of it.

Let’s rewind to 1999 when I met DH.  (Well this is not quite true.  He lived in the apartment next to my grandma’s in Turkey so I’ve known him for years but it wasn’t until 1999 that we re-connected.)  I had just graduated college, broken up with a psycho boyfriend and concluded an amazing backpacking trip thru Europe with a friend in the prime of my life.  Turkey was my last stop and all I wanted to do while I was there was spend time with my grandparents and see my friends.  Men and dating were the last things on my mind and it always seemed that the times that I wanted men the least were always the times I’d meet someone I wanted most.  This time was no different; I did I meet someone great – wonderful in fact but I really didn’t want to engage in a long distance relationship especially at a time when I was starting a new life.  Anyone that has fallen in love knows that you don’t really get to chose who you fall for, it just happens, and so it did.  We spent an amazing 4 weeks together but the day came where I had to leave.  We were fortunate enough to have the Internet, email and chatting – without this, I don’t think our relationship would have lasted but there is a certain romanticism to words written by hand on paper that you know was touched by the one you love that Windows just can’t replicate.  So in between the video chats and IM’s, I would go to the mail box each day in hopes to find those envelopes that they only seem to sell in Europe with the red and blue border around it and my heart would skip a beat when one would arrive. 

Fast forward 11 years and you’ll find that DH left his life and family to start a new one here with me and we have been married now almost 7 years.  It seems no matter how conscious a person is to not let a marriage get stale and mundane, it inevitably seems to happen.  You fall into a routine, things that were once cute become annoying and the conversations (especially during the week) consist mostly of what’s for dinner and who’s going to take the dog out.  One day while perusing the ever favorite Self Help section of Borders, I stumbled upon a book called “We Love Each Other But…” by Patricia Wachtel.  In this book, one of the main points she touches upon to jump start love is for couples to remember what it was like when they first met one another.  For some, this might be difficult to do but for once we are at an advantage!  We not only have memories but have written records of our time together and our time apart.  Since the recent discovery of the treasure trove of memories in the basement, DH and I agreed to take out one letter that we wrote to each other and read it on our anniversary (or as often as necessary to reboot) to remember how we felt back then and what we went though to be together.


Rene W. said...

What a great point!! And a great love story :) I think that is so sweet when a man keeps those kinds of sentimental things. Reminds me of meeting my DH & his ONE BOX of belongings - geez, I was a lot of baggage for someone who posessed just one box! Sounds like a great book, I'll have to check it out. Have a great weekend :)

Cougar Tales said...

How sweet! I love LOVE STORIES. I am romantic at heart.

Meghan said...

This is such a beautiful story. I love that you are able to read those letters to one another!

The Grasshoppa:Triplets Plus Two Momma said...

I am a hopeless romantic and met my man when I was 18 months old. we have a lot of old photos and letters that I treasure.

Keeping my eye on your blog. Good stuff.

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