I complain a lot about how much of a pack rat Mark is (I'm the opposite...I get rid of everything that I'm not using or haven't worn in the last couple of years), but for once I as glad for his tendency to save because I located (most likely) every letter I wrote to him during the early years of our courtship, dated from December 1981 through August 1984, right up to the time I moved to Rochester.
After finding them, I did not have an overwhelming desire to read them, wanting to leave the past in the past, and figuring they'd be corny as heck. After 28 years together and 22 years of marriage, so much has happened (much great, some, not-so-great), I didn't feel like I wanted to travel back to those idyllic years when I was a young girl filled with teenage love. Call me cynical, or maybe just realistic, but the view from 46 was sure to look a lot different than the view from 18. But, my Libra curiosity and nosiness got the best of me, and I sat down, put the letters in order, and began to read.
Here are some things I learned about my 18-year-old self. Some of these memories are as clear as if they happened yesterday, and some I have NO MEMORY of:
- I went out to bars with my girlfriends (a lot), and drank a lot of screwdrivers and "quarter drafts." I mentioned, more than once though, that I didn't drink "that night" because I was the designated driver (Wow! How 2009!).Most of my letters to Mark were written after I got home from going out. Usually after midnight or 1am. Can you imagine me staying up that late several days a week now?! I did have the good sense to re-read the letter(s) before I mailed them.
- I had a really hard time finding a job
- I couldn't wait until the next trip to "Roch-cha-cha."
- Apparently my parents drove me crazy, especially my father with his questions about "where I was going." In one letter I was complaining that he wouldn't let me go to Frontiertown with Sue, her mom, and her cousin, San. That's craziness! I wonder why he wouldn't let me go! The fact that my parents drove me crazy is something I do not recall, but it makes me feel good that I complained about my parents much like I'm sure my kids complain about me.
- I made my friends a lot of taco dinners. This, I remember.
- One of Sue's long-distance boyfriends paid me to buy (and deliver) her a white rose.
- There is some sexual innuendo in the letters. We won't go there.
- I wrote A LOT of letters. Sometimes every other day in the summer. Wow!
- I complained about the number of letters Mark DID NOT write.
- At one point I apparently had a job interview at Alcoa, the aluminum company where my father worked. In the letter I write, "I hope I don't have to wait two hours for a 10 minute interview like Tim Bell did." I absolutely never recall an interview at Alcoa! I wonder how different my life might have turned out if had gotten a job there?
- I also apparently took a civil service exam. Again, no recollection!
- I missed Mark a lot during out time apart, "more than he could know." There was a lot of that kind of blather.
- Etc. etc. etc.
I feel really fortunate to have found the letters after all these years, and am glad my kids can have them for the future. They really helped remind me of a simpler time in our relationship, and the less-mature love I felt for Mark way back then. Who knows, maybe the kids will make a major motion picture about us based on the letters!
Mark is continuing to clean out the attic stuff and just came down with the letters I had written to him. I didn't even know I kept them! There are substantially fewer of those, so I'd might as well get reading!!