Living in a trailer doesn’t leave much room for souvenirs or mementos, so I keep them constrained to a small plastic bin about the size of a shoebox. It holds special concert tickets, my first real bracelet, coins from my travels, and these four things that belonged to my mother.
This pin was in her jewelry box when she died. It’s a Phi Kappa Phi pin. I had to look that up. I have no idea when she was awarded membership into that honor society. Was it when she was at UCLA as a freshman in 1949? Or when she went back to school and earned an AA, then a BA, and an Masters in Library Science while I was in high school and college?
After she started working as a librarian, she often did the children’s story hour. At some point, she started using a huge stuffed bear as a prop and so people gave her bears for all occasions. This was a Christmas ornament she had for years, and it was one of my picks after she died and my dad didn’t want to keep the Christmas decorations any more.
When I wrote my mother’s obituary, I made sure that it included the sentence “She was a friend of Bill W. for more than 27 years” because her sobriety was hard fought and hard won every single one of those years. We buried her with her most recent AA coin, and I tucked this one away for safekeeping. At some point, I’ll know who it goes to but that moment hasn’t come yet so it’s still in my memory box.
My mother wasn’t much for fancy jewelry. For years, these were the only earrings I ever saw her. They weren’t fancy, and they probably didn’t cost very much at all. When I look at them, though, I can see my mother’s face so clearly.
My mother died two months after the first iPhone was released so I don’t have any videos of her or even that many photos. What I do have are these four little things and my memories. That’s enough for me.
No one is forgotten. Nothing is forgotten.
Let no one forget. Let nothing be forgotten.