Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Farewell to greeting cards

When I’d visit my mother, I’d sometimes go through her drawers and think, “Why is she saving all these greeting cards? They’re just signatures on some commercially-created sentiment.” So then I’d try to get her to throw them out, and she’d say no, she liked going through them. Her friends said the same thing.

I bet they never went through them! I bet they just sat there taking up space!

I’d think about how much room she’d have if she’d just get rid of those greeting cards. It offended my de-cluttering sensibilities!

So as the Great Carpet Nightmare has ended and I vowed not to keep anything that could be successfully de-cluttered, I came across a box. Two, in fact. I don’t know how they evaded previous de-cluttering bouts: these boxes had never even been opened.

They were full of greeting cards and theater programs! I’d be embarrassed except that it was so gratifying – so thrilling – to recycle such a huge pile.

My mother saved her Playbills from her lifetime of Broadway plays. She kept them in pristine condition, even had them framed. She saw Lauren Bacall in Applause, Zero Mostel in Fiddler. When she moved out of her home, her collection went to the local theater as a fund raising opportunity for them.
My theater programs? They’re for local theater, little regional theaters. Out North, Toast, Cyrano’s, Kokopelli Theater Company, Pier One, Alaska Rep – several of these theater companies no longer exist. As I went through the programs – hundreds of them – I had no idea what the plays were. I couldn’t tell anything from the titles. So the idea of going through them and fondly remembering each production – that was an idea I’d already ditched. The memory was already gone.

The greeting cards? They were more interesting. My sister, Allison, and I had just been laughing over the birthday card I’d sent her. Every year, we three sisters send cards with messages like, “Do your boobs hang low? Do they wiggle to and fro?” My sister Elizabeth sent me one I still laugh over; telling a shoe salesman about bunions and asking, “Is this the year you start blurting out your ailments to complete strangers?”

So this year, I sent Allison one about good sisters being ones that make you laugh, but great sisters are ones that make you laugh till you pee. She found it hilarious because Elizabeth had sent her the identical card the year before.

So there I was, going through the greeting card box, most of them from Tim. Cards from about a three-year period. Some Valentine’s Day, some anniversary cards. There was this one:
 And then there was this one:
This one:
And this one:
Notice anything? There are even more like this, and they’re from 25 years ago – when we had memories! He didn’t notice he was sending me duplicates, and I didn’t notice I was receiving them. I even saved them without realizing (which is just proof that NO ONE looks at old greeting cards).

NO ONE looks at old greeting cards. Not even to find an uncashed $150 anniversary check from my mother … from back in 1997.

So all the greeting cards have been recycled … except those lovable duplicates. They say something about us, and I’ll look at them and laugh over them at least a few more times. Maybe I’ll even notice if an identical one shows up again.

1 comment:

  1. Before the internet, I used to save greeting cards and tape a recipe on the back of them. That way I could reread the sentiment when I was looking for a certain recipe. I like seeing the handwriting of people I love and rereading the really nice things they say about me! Other than recipe taping-they now all get recycled.


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