Monday, September 27, 2010

Inheriting the Collection

Some of my parents' artwork...
I discovered my father’s love letters under his bed.  It was several months following his death in November 2009, and my sister Jamie and I were busy cleaning his house in Florida.   The letters were stored in a small cardboard box, nestled in their original envelopes and gathered into small sets, with the envelopes wrapped together by desiccated rubber bands (the bands crumbled as I removed the letters).

Shortly before my mother died in 2004, she had asked my wife to help organize her old letters – the love letters that she had exchanged with my father when they were dating
from 1949 to 1951.  We thought the
... more artwork and photos (just a
small selection).
other half of the correspondence was somewhere around, but had no idea where to look.  It wasn’t a big surprise to discover them under my father’s bed.  Near the end of his life, he liked to be surrounded by photos and mementos of his long and happy marriage.

I packed the letters and the accumulated records of my parents (and both sets of grandparents) into the car in Florida and drove everything back north to my home in New Jersey.  Except for me in the driver’s seat and one suitcase in the trunk, all remaining space in the Toyota Corolla (passenger seat, rear seat, and trunk) was jammed full of the archival material of my family’s history.  Jamie and I were responsible for preserving our family history now.

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