Thursday, January 7, 2016

A True Throw Back Thursday

Today was a cold and snowy day.  It was a perfect day to stay home and get some things done.  I finally put the final touches on returning the house to its normal state. It always seems a bit dull around here when all of Christmas is put away, so I tried to brighten up the living room by moving a few of my favorite things to the coffee table in front of the couch.  We can call this a study in red.  This should keep things a bit more cheery and colorful during January.

I then pulled out one of my favorite tea cups, one given to me by a teaching friend as a remembrance of the time I went to Caernarfon, Wales, and filled it with the special tea my son had sent me for Christmas last year and headed downstairs.

At the end of December, in the midst of putting away Christmas decorations, I began the task of attempting an organization of storage shelves.  That led to me cleaning out closets.  That led to pulling boxes full of stuff out of closets and peeking inside of them to see what on earth was filling them.  That led to me deciding I needed a new system of storing stuff so I could find the stuff I wanted to find.

This is what I came up with.  Jim and I found a great solution for our storage problems at the Container Store.  It was on sale, so we bought it and had it installed in an empty corner of the family room. I think it will be a great place to store all of the stuff currently living in boxes stored in places we can't remember.

When we moved into this house a little over three years ago, the goal was to get the house as livable as possible as soon as possible.  That meant that many boxes of stuff were pushed into closets, put on shelves, or hauled into the crawl space.  I'll get to them someday, was the promise I made.

Today, I hauled out one box from the closet in the downstairs bedroom.  This box was filled with notebooks, journals, and bits of writing from the past.  I've had quite a day of doing research and discovery by going back and peeking into a few of those notebooks.  It has truly been a throw back Thursday.

 Hopefully, we won't have any guests in the next day or two since I have made a mess of the guest room/downstairs study.

One notebook was mostly empty, but it contained a few gems from 1991.  I was a single mom then.  Amy, and Julie were in high school.  Jonathan was in junior high.  The notebook that I found from that time period lived near the phone in kitchen.  It was supposed to be where we left messages for each other.  Here are a few gems:

  • From Amy:  Mom, Julie needs her shoes out of my car for track.  Can you pick me up at 1:30 on Weber?
  • Mom, I went with Rick to wash his car.  Be home by 3:30.  Amy  
  • Andrea & Julie called.  Barb R called.
  • Mom, Amy and I went to the Citadel to get her earrings.  She will clean the house when she gets home.  Love, Julie
  • My response on that same day at 4:30  "It's a good thing at least this kitchen is cleaned.  I did not make this mess and I won't come home to it.  I went jogging.  Amy - when you finish reading the paper, put it away!  And your backpack does not belong on the table.  
  • Mom, Don't forget to leave me some money so that I can go to the bonfire & football game this weekend.  Have fun this weekend.  Love Julie XOXO
  • My response:  Amy has $ for you all.  She also has the video card for Safeway.  Give Aunt Carol my # 1-395-2477 - Trail West.  Phone # where I will be.  XOXOXO Mom
  • Julie: wire to starter is loose.  
Those were the days before texting!  I wish I had more of those messages.  They are treasures now.  I guess I was a pretty mean mom.  I expected a clean home when I got home from work.  Actually, the kids were very good most of the time about that.  They knew I hated to see a mess when I walked in the door, so at least I was usually greeted with a clear vista.  Their rooms were another story.

I loved this gem.  Julie had written "My hole name Julie Ann Christiansen" in one of my notebooks.  I laughed when I saw it.  Then, I cried.  It broke my heart to see her childhood handwriting, but I was also so grateful to have it.

This little love note was no doubt written in church because it was written on an old notebook filled with my notes from sermons in the 80s.  Julie had surrounded her sweet note with drawings of a rainbow and fish symbols, representing believers in Christ.  I noticed Jon had also written his name and drawn a silly picture.  The memories of those two sitting next to me in church came flooding back.

Another journal contained entries from a journal started whenI made a career change in 2004.  I realized that twelve years ago this week, I left the classroom where I was teaching high school English/Language Arts and went to Colorado State University-Pueblo to become a program coordinator.  My job was to help write the curriculum for and develop the program to train teachers to become endorsed to teach linguistically diverse students.  I cannot believe it has already been twelve years since that milestone in my life.

I wrote in my journal:
 1/9/04 Well, I'm here!  I finally made it!  I've landed a job at the University level and I have an office!  I can hardly believe my good fortune.  I am just getting set up and trying to figure out what the heck I'm doing on my new job.  My title:  Program Coordinator English Language Learners Preparation Program for Teachers of Linguistically Diverse Students.

I have to laugh when I read my job title.  It was quite a long one.  I loved my days in this position so much.  I never would have retired if I would have had my way, but the job was based on grant funding.  Once the funding went away, so did the job.

The photo below was taken in my office not long after I started the new job when a friend and former helper in my classroom at the high school came to visit me when she was in the States visiting from her home in Taiwan.  She was a CSU-P grad.

Colorado State University-Pueblo
Sally with professional friend

I have so many professional notebooks that I still can't seem to throw out.  This one is really special because it contains the portfolio I put together after participating in the Southern Colorado Writing Project.  This was the best professional development experience I ever had.  It was also the best experience I ever had in participating in a writing group.  I leafed through it and found it filled with writings and notes that I want to investigate further.


As I go through old notebooks and journals, I wonder if I should just throw them all out.  I know many of you would do that, or have done that.  Sometimes such books hold a record of great pain, but they also can lead to new understandings of self and why decisions were made a certain way.  I wonder at times why I didn't write more during times of great joy and fulfillment.  I tend to write more when I am sorting out my life decisions.  

Do you keep journals?  If so, do you think you will destroy them before you leave this earth?  If so, why or why not.  For now, my journals are going in a locked file cabinet.  Only I know where the key is.  I hope I don't forget where it is!  Actually, I know I have two hidden keys, but I only know where one key is at the moment.

I've have so enjoyed this throwback Thursday.  As a bonus, I got one box emptied.  Now, on to all those others.