Confessions of a Pack Rat

In our spare bedroom, on the bottom shelf of a bookshelf, there’s a gold box. I imagine it once held Christmas cookies, but now it just holds my memories. This box has followed me for years, drifting from bedroom to dorm room, dorm room to apartment, apartment to house. It’s just a normal box, and to anyone else its contents are worthless, but to me, it holds a history I left behind a long time ago, pictures and conversations I might’ve forgotten. I’m insane for holding on to all these scraps of paper, bits of string, and random programs. I don’t know why I’ve carried them around all these years, but since they’re here, some are worth sharing:

  • A letter from my friend Morgan.  She left it in my dorm room the day she helped me move into my freshman dorm.  It’s full of encouraging words, telling me everything was going to be okay and to enjoy the adventure I was on.  I’m so glad we’re still friends.
  • A picture of me and my sister, Chase, dressed up in our choir uniforms in seventh grade.

  • A letter from my friend Autumn.  I think she must’ve sent it when I was in seventh grade.  It’s on black paper in gel pen!  Oh, man, I remember when gel pens were the must-have item at school.  Anyways, she ended the letter with a fun inside joke about an evil scientist looking at himself in the reflection of a spoon and saying, “Baby, I’m pretty!”  I never would’ve remembered that joke if I hadn’t read it just now, but it’s all there.
  • Several pictures from my going-away party in the summer of 2001 when I moved from Abilene to Midland.
  • Maps of Vienna, Venice, and Budapest that I brought back from my choir trip the summer after my senior year.
  • A picture of me and my grandfather the day he bought me my first guitar.  I was in eighth grade.

  • I have a huge collection of birthday cards… I just love birthday cards!
  • A letter from my friend Lee when he was stationed with the Marines in San Diego, dated March 26, 2009.
  • Plenty of paper scraps and napkins covered with old poetry I never finished.
  • A note from my friends Lacy and Autumn that they left on my pillow the day I moved away when I was 11.
  • A “Hard Worker” award from kindergarten dated February 6, 1996.
  • A poem my grandfather wrote me on my sixteenth birthday.
  • My fourth grade report card (1999-2000).  Apparently I had a problem with talking out of turn.
  • A story I wrote with my friend Meghan the first time she spent the night with me.  It was about wolves and, frankly, pretty awesome.
  • A quote from Alfred, Lord Tennyson: “The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.”
  • A wrapper from Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies.  There’s a note inside that says, “From my lunch with Kutless!”  They used to be my favorite band, and I got to have lunch with them once at Six Flags.
  • My freshman report card from high school.  My science teacher, Mr. Floyd, thought I was a great student and gave me great citizenship points.  Unfortunately, he died the next year from complications in gastric bypass surgery, but I still remember him now.
  • Not sure why I kept this one because it’s not a great memory: My friends and I used to have something like a blog circle in high school, and we would always post for each other and leave comments.  I have a thick stack of paper with printouts of every post and comment during a major fight our sophomore year… Some of it is pretty nasty.  It all seems sort of stupid now, though.
  • A note dated November 25, 2007.  I found this note in a Bible at church one Sunday.  In it, a woman writes about her husband cheating on her and how sad she is about it.
  • Three friendship bracelets.
  • A receipt from Walgreens dated March 26, 2006 at 11:53 p.m.  My friends and I bought six bottles of water from a store in Odessa after a concert.  It was pouring rain.  That was a great night.
  • Lots of notes passed back and forth in high school classes before texting was a big deal.
  • Notes to my “future husband”– Mostly just asking why I hadn’t met him yet.
  • The last letter I wrote to Santa.  I asked for “new roller blades, a tea bunny, a new basket ball, a binie baby.”  Apparently I wasn’t sure if Santa could read, so I drew pictures to accompany my letter.

  • A Midland County library card.  I used it regularly until I lost a book when I was in eighth grade.  I never turned it in.   I never used my card again because I was scared the fine would be a million dollars.
  • Outlines for stories I never wrote.
  • A note from Valentine’s Day, 2005.  A boy brought me candy and wrote me a note that said he liked me.  I didn’t like him back and I was really embarrassed.  That was the only time a boy ever expressed interest in me until Sam came along 4 and a half years later.
  • A note from my grandmother on my mom’s side, who died when I was 11.  It says, “Callie– This is your unbirthday surprise!  Love, Nonnie.”
  • Notes from my friends Jenny and Erika.  They left them on my windshield while I was at work one day.  The notes meant a lot to me because we hadn’t been talking much lately.  Unfortunately, it had rained that day and the ink smeared so I couldn’t read what they wrote.  I still kept the notes, though.
  • A letter my sister, Taylor, wrote me when she moved out.  I read it sometimes when I need encouragement because it’s full of sweet thoughts!
  • Money from Honduras… Where did I get this?  I’ve never even been to Honduras.
  • A letter from my friend Lacy dated August 27, 2001.  It’s neon pink and has Lisa Frank stickers all over it!  :)
  • My charm bracelet from junior high.  It has a charm from my summer camp LLYC, a number 13, a music note, and a dachshund.

  • A copy of my first passport.
  • Pictures of me and my friend Kristi at our senior prom and me and my sisters on my high school graduation day.

  • My freshman cafeteria pass from high school.
  • A set of green mardi gras beads from my sixteenth birthday party.
  • A package of five-year-old spinning bee fireworks.

Each of these things sparks a memory, good or bad, that I’ve chosen to remember.  I pull this box out once or twice a year.  Sometimes, it makes me cry thinking of everything I’ve lost or left behind.  Other times, it makes me laugh remembering the way things were.  Today is a day to laugh.  :)

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