There was a small 2"x 2" black and white photo of my mother and a mini-me. The note was to my dad, serving overseas during the Korean War (I refuse to call it a conflict) and in a separate piece of onion skin was a small pink ribbon holding a very strawberry blond curl. The note said it was the one that used to hang down over my forehead, the one he used to brush.
I was reminded of the poem,
"There once was a girl, who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good, she was very, very good.
And when she was bad, she was horrid."
Not that I was horrid (although my siblings may have commentary to add) but I thought back to the little mauve celluloid brush that I was mine and which I used throughout childhood to coif my doll's hair. It was nice to think that dad had brushed my hair with it at one time.
Questions came next. I felt a bit voyeuristic as I peeked into the past - young lovers, a new family, separation enforced by continents and political ideology. A young wife rearing two young children alone, reaching through the mail to her soldier husband, sharing a token, a symbol of their love, a child's curl. It was a happy note but between the hand-written lines was a longing for reunion, a sharing of the mundane day-to-day cement that binds lives together.
I was grateful for this brief look into my history, that I had a mom who was sentimental, a bit of a pack-rat; and for her example, my grandmother who pressed flowers between the pages of her books. These are all glimpses into the past, into lives, into hearts. What do you save between the pages of a book, at the back of a drawer, in a box on a shelf in the attic? What memories will you leave behind of a life lived, loved, and well-spent?