Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Lost and Found and Rediscovered

An unexpected thing happened recently.  A former student I've known for a few years wrote to me to say she had something in her possession that she thought might be mine, or related to me.  She's a "your trash is my treasure" type of hunter and I guess she's pretty good at it, because unbeknownst to her she found some letters in a city I've never been to that I had written quite a few years ago, possibly love letters as they were written to someone I loved once.  They were definitely personal, intimate, private.... and other stuff too, drawings and little pieces of art.  The person I had written the letters to had lived briefly in this city and had lost track of a box of his personal things which then had been thrown out where she found....rescued, and held on to it all.  Now going through a pile of saved things she recognized me through the artwork, and then realized she knew my name now and understood that when they were signed Love, J.  it was me, and she made the connection..... What a strange range of emotions I felt upon seeing what she had in her possession, as she sent a few photos to see if I could identify anything. I love to save things, and the tiniest scrap of paper for me is like a photograph that can transport me to another place and time and trigger all kinds memories.  I'm curious why she even told me about it, but she said the letters were really beautiful and she felt it was some sort of metaphysical happening......she offered to send what she had to me.  I said ok, but hesitantly.... part of me wants to burn or bury whatever it is, and part of me wants to return it to it's rightful owner.  But who is that now?  Me or him?   I wrote to tell him what had been found and he was surprised and it started a conversation.  The letters were little prayers of a sort that I sent out into the world, and never expecting to see them again. It makes me wonder about the value of saving things, and where they will end up.  Can you save too much?  Is it good to go back to that place, and reread, revisit, relive the past?  I'm curious, and unresolved as to what I will do with what I receive. Maybe there is a sort of destiny involved, and it is time for me to see the people we both were with some distance, insight with the benefit of time. I hope I will learn something.  I thought I would tell this little story for you to think and ask yourself what it might be like to one day get a message that someone had found and was holding your old love letters....someone not a good friend, but not a stranger either.... Someone who knew you well enough to solve the mystery.  Would you want to see them?  In a way I love the poetic synchronistic nature of this story....and on the other hand, its kind of heartbreaking as they are a metaphor to me for being ungrounded and lost.  Not for me, but maybe for him, Oh well..... to be continued......

I found these old love letters for sale on Etsy.....and I appreciate the love letters of famous artists that somehow have survived.  Perhaps everything happens for a reason that is slowly and unexpectedly revealed.  :)



4 comments:

smartcat said...

What a lovely little story. I can see how it could be unsettling to have what is long past come swimming into view. Can you think of it as the completion of a circle from the past that never closed?

Jenny Mendes said...

If I were a writer, I think this could be the seed for a good short story..... I do see this revelation in lots of different ways, one not so far from what you describe, although not a completion, it doesn't feel like that to me. I'm not sure what it completes, but it does add something to our story. Possibly a metamorphosis that feels positive in ways I don't yet understand completely..,

Melissa Arp said...

Thank you for sharing this. I can't imagine how it must feel to have something so private, unearthed in this way. What would be challenging for me, is that something I had sent that I felt was deeply personal was lost by the person I sent it to. Perhaps it is a great gift, to have this part of yourself, that you sent out to someone you loved and hoped for as a gift, given back to you. A true "full circle", circling back to yourself.

Jenny Mendes said...

Melissa,
At first it was shocking. (I still haven't gotten it back but am hoping she will send it....) and then it became more approachable. And then even turned into a story for me. Perhaps often we never receive or give in the exact spirit expected or hoped for from the giver or receiver. We can't control anything. Including intimate parts of yourself that get lost in the world by accident or on purpose. If it comes back I will hold it for a while but not forever, as it was of me, but never meant for me. At first I wanted to burn it, but now I've lost that urge....and it has changed into something else. Something rescued, now with a new life as yet unknown. There is a german word I heard the other day for just this kind of person that rescues other peoples castoff debris to archive memory, something like that but I can't remember what it is.....thank you for your words....