The bottom drawer of my nightstand has been the collection point for cards and letters I’ve received over the years and couldn’t bear to part with. In my memory, I go through the drawer every few years to see what I want to keep and tie the items into neat bundles with yarn grouped by year.

Piles of cards

Piles of cards

Memory is deceiving. I found items in the drawer from the late 90s. Either I haven’t done this at all since moving into my house in 2003, or I missed some in the process.

I spent many hours of the final days of 2014 reading through everything in the drawer. What a gift to take this walk down memory lane. Some of the finds were so good, I scanned them in order to share them with the original senders.

Some of the highlights:

Many cards from my grandmothers, both of whom passed away in 2010. Grandma Mother (that’s what we called her) in particular was a great letter writer. Mixed in with updates about life and who was coming to visit were expressions of emotion and pride in me and other members of the family. Really touching to reread.

Holiday card from 2011

Realizing how many cards and letters I have from a college friend. Not only do I have every one of her holiday cards, which are usually original works of art by her former or current husband (here’s the 2011 card), but also dozens of cards that came with newspaper clippings or other small gifts. I always think of her as one of the most thoughtful people I know, but seeing the hard evidence made me appreciate it again.

Being a little sad about the people I’m not in touch with anymore. One mailed me a Halloween care package while I spent a semester of law school in London. This won’t lead me to get back in touch with everyone, but certainly with a few.

Intern's thank you

Intern’s thank you

Remembering former interns. Each spring, summer, and fall semester I “hired” an intern to work on pro bono cases. Free labor for the department + academic credit and great, practical experience for the students = serving more clients, primarily those seeking disability benefits. Many of the interns wrote heartfelt thank you cards (much better than an email).

Trying to figure out who some of these people are. Among the unidentifiable: someone who sent me flowers at the office in 2003, someone who thanked me for staying at my house in 2005, and more than one birthday card from the late 1990s/early 2000s.

My New Year’s Resolution is to try and emulate my grandmother and college friend by sending more handwritten cards. But not ones with glitter. They make too much of a mess.