As I prepare for my mondo move to Michigan - where I can't wait to join my husband, who has waited patiently to welcome me to my new home, I have begun the grunt work of sorting through my "stuff" and figuring out what to take and what to trash.
Since I have been operating a PR agency for over 20-years, that means lots and lots of files. And since my business pre-dates the paperless office of today, lots of files means lots of paper. Some of the papers are boring - old records of receivables, cash receipts, the kind of stuff my ex-husband who is a CPA, routinely kept in folders and envelopes. Some are home-related - old floor plans, swatches of wallpaper and carpet. And some are child-created - love notes, stories, letters from camp - my three prolific children - the youngest of whom is set to graduate high school today - certainly gave me enough to stock several file cabinets.
As I piece through each file before I send some to the dispose/shred pile and others to my new home, I realize that my entire life is contained in a row of metal cabinets. Forget the pine box - bury me in a file cabinet. Everything I ever did - clues to my existence as a rebellious teen through my college years as President of the Film Society to first job at Paramount Pictures Corporation to my married life and subsequent jobs. My letters of recommendation supporting my ambitions (never realized) to go to law school, books and screenplays started but never finished (there were quite a few of those). Awards I've won, campaigns I've run. Research for the books I did complete and manage to publish - and article after article, photo after photo of me in every stage of MEdom. I never realized how many lives I've lived until I attacked those files. And my children - stories and cards they composed when they were so young that gave hints as to who they would grow into so many years later.
I woke up my hours-away-from-graduating senior with a story she wrote and illustrated in first grade, entitled, The Little Bear. It's about a bear named Cottony who goes to school, makes cupcakes and encounters a "mean girl" on the bus. He cries at the end because nobody likes him and his mommy assures him that he is liked - because SHE loves him. And wouldn't you know it - just yesterday Casey and I had that discussion. "You don't love me!" she cried. I assured her, I do - SO much. Precious and prescient is that special story.
Of course, now that society is essentially paperless, most of the papers in my file cabinets are meaningless - but sorting through the piles of paper, I've found some gems - more than enough to fill a time capsule - with treasures that my entire family can read, review and enjoy for years to come.