Sunday, August 13, 2006

Records

I've been going through my filing cabinets in preparation for a move, and, my God, I had kept all these years the notes that everyone passed me in middle school! I've deleted most of my email messages in the past few years, aside from those few messages I recognized as worth keeping on the hard drive, but the mail file contains long, involved letters from people whose names I barely remember. People, I expect, whose emails would have been deleted within a week. Going through these old letters, I've had to face the history of other people's fantasies of myself: not very comforting.

Below the fold, an actual 6th grade letter, from a boy to me, in my files. (I've obscured identities, even though I don't exactly remember who was who.)
[Jackmormon]--
What's up? The sky! Ha, Ha. You really are a great dancer. Probably the best in the whole school. I envy that. I also envy you for not going with G. But...why didn't you go with him? (please answer.) G.is a nice guy but he ways a but too much. Say, Do you like W.? [arrow to margin: or P?] cause I've heard from other people that you do. P. wrote in a slambook that you're a "bitch." He really said some bad things. I hope we can be friends.
J.
P.S. Don't show this to anyone except your best friends (if you want too)

5 Comments:

Anonymous I don't pay:

I think I must have wayed a bit too much myself.

You've got to keep them now. I never delete emails, and probably have some duesies in my pile of old hard drives.

8/13/2006 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Jackmormon:

I was about to throw them out--"oh, why did I keep this crap?"--and then I realized that they're priceless reminders of what it feels like to be 12.

8/13/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger CharleyCarp:

You're still close enough to the time that you can remember how (if) you responded, and how you felt when you got them. Some dark and rainy season, you might consider composing a short diary of your own view of the time. Your children, grandchildren, and beyond will get a look into the late 20th century they would otherwise never have had -- and when you're 60, and the interval between the events and looking at the notes is thrice what it is now, you'll still remember the context.

Obviously many things that happen to us in childhood, and how we react to them, are trivialities. I don't think, though, that we are always capable of accurately predicting what we'll think is important decades down the line.

8/13/2006 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger eb:

G.is a nice guy but he ways a but too much. Say, Do you like W.?

Are you sure this isn't about the 2000 election?

8/13/2006 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger Jackmormon:

I think I still have my actual diaries from that period, Charley. Not hereabouts in my academic filing cabinets; at my parents' house. I can't say I'm looking forward to rereading those, but maybe I'll feel differently about my various unkindnesses when I'm substantially older. You're right, though: I can't throw this stuff out. My Mormon ancestors would scream from their graves...

8/14/2006 09:19:00 PM  

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