Dec 1, 2006

The Scrap

Since my last post, our boys have turned five and seven. We've feasted and partied. The boys have spread their Hotwheels and Zoobs and Legos and new puzzles about the living room. Which, as you can tell, we actually live in. No wasted space around here.

For months I have had a scrap of paper stuck to the magnet board above my desk. It's a corner off an old typed letter, a thin gray clue to the past. I had found it last year among my grandmother's photographs, and thought it compelling enough to keep near me. I will copy each line here, exactly as it reads.

n had a
still bandaged.
because it was haeling
she has grown terribly
's a teaful bon voyage.
ve to all,

I left the two typos in. It was hard to make corrections on manual typewriters, and it seems that the writer was upset herself. I believe this letter was from my mother's grandmother, who died in 1956. I don't know who she can be writing about--a child? After her husband died, she lived with my grandmother's brother Fred and his wife in Seattle until her own death,so it's likely she would have written letters to my mother, in Pennsylvania. Now why did my Nana have this scrap, though? My mother lived with Nana and Papa for a few years in the 1950s before meeting my father, so maybe the letter just stayed with the house. Was it torn by accident? My instinct is that it wasn't, because it's a nicely rectangular shape for a tear. It looks like it was torn in half, the halves torn in half, the quarters torn in half, with this being one quarter of a quarter, or 1/16 of the original letter. But why? Were the words hurtful, accusing, or damaging in any way? Was the recipient(my mother?) ashamed by what she read?

I will never know, and now no one will know, because I'm the only person left with these dusty things and and half-memories and conjectures. I return the scrap to the bulletin board, which it shares with pictures of our friends' three adopted Asian daughters, a leaf print made by one of the boys, a sign that says "If I were the Mom I would wear blue-green nail polish.--Will," and a picture of Jack and Will at Dutch Wonderland riding a little yellow car.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is so poignant. I mean, having a piece of paper from the past that you'll never be able to fully decipher! fascinating!