April 27, 2012
I have many, being the sentimental fool who saved it all. But you asked me to name just one for now so: Picture of my birth parents from 1948 when I was born.
I was adopted at a time when information about birth parents was withheld by law forever. It wasn't until I was over 60 that I finally found my birth mother, living where she still lives in a remote island in the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific. It took me and my own daughter over 24 hours of travel time including teeny planes and an even teenier, non-commercial boat ride of many hours to get to the island where she lives without electricity or running water. It was more than worth it to discover that instead of being the WASP I was always told I was, I've got the blood of Mayan Indians in my veins, as evidenced by my mother's long, absolutely straight, still-dark hair I saw blowing in the trade winds. And to hear her tell us...in her West Texas, pioneer-stock drawl...of her childhood in the still-wild lands near Mexico.
First my compliments on a FABULOUS idea!!! I'm about 90K words into writing my memoirs, in search of lost time, as Proust put it, and so agree about the almost "possessed" quality of the physical things we still treasure from long ago.
I'm as much an advocate of technology as anyone, but handling an arrowhead given to a participant by a great grandfather who saw a time when Long Island was carpeted with them...or a camera requiring huge film to take images so sharp each pore glistened with water after a swim...or far too many other treasures than I can describe here... They all add up to a powerfully different, precious, wonderfully visceral world.