There is one trait that I think I have inherited from my Great Grandfather, and that is the need to keep every little piece of memorabilia from every trip that I have ever made. Each time I return from a trip my suitcase is weighted down, not by clothes, handbags or shoes, but reams of pamphlets, books and postcards, evidence of the places I have been. When I rifle through my cupboards and drawers with the intention of parting with my “stuff” I cannot bring myself to throw away that part of my history. Mind you, I very rarely look at any of it once I have tucked it all safely away behind my cupboard doors. So why do I find it so hard to discard?
Perhaps my Great Grandfather’s example holds the key to the problem. If he had thrown away all the little postcards, receipts and envelopes from the times of his travels, there would be no evidence of where he had been. I would not have been prompted to tell his story. No-one every talked about his story, so I would not know about it in the first place. And obviously, his time in Egypt and afar meant more to him than just a military posting. The myriads of postcards, books and pamphlets that he chose to keep are pieces of places that struck a chord with his being.
This morning, I am going to share some of his memorabilia. Some of the items are merely envelopes, but the addresses written in ink are the key to their importance. I hope you enjoy browsing through just a sample of the items I have found.
I know that all the places I have visited in the world hold a place in my heart. I know that I have my own unique memories, however, in years to come, who will be able to piece together the details of my life? No-one will know of those special places and experiences that have shaped my life, if there is no evidence left behind. I am not saying that someone will want to write a book about my life, in fact that is highly unlikely, but by having boxes of evidence of how a person lived, would perhaps ignite someone’s curiosity.
In our digital age, by scanning those items and saving them on an external hard drive or the likes could solve the problem of lack of space. However, there is nothing like sorting through old boxes, filling one’s lungs with the musty aroma of old paper and moth balls to spark that curiosity. Nothing equals the excitement of holding an item in your hands that was once held by the hand of an ancestor 100 years before.
I have no answers to my problem of hoarding my travel memorabilia, so will continue to do what I have done for 40 years. In doing so, I am laying the path for future family historians, just like my Great Grandfather had done for me. So family, let us just say, my boxes and packets of miscellaneous pieces of the world, are my parting gift to you.