When going through photo albums

When going through photo albums to get rid of them, it’s a good idea to go through the whole thing.

When my father died, I took his two photo albums from his apartment. Mostly filled with pictures of strangers, I hadn’t done anything with them. I finally decided to go through them completely, remove the pictures I wanted (I think those sticky-paged photo albums are barbaric), and toss the rest. In front of one were many pics of the Phoenix Zoo, some with Dad, many of some friends of his I didn’t know. Then a lot of blank pages. I didn’t think there was anything else in the album, but I double-checked. In the back pages I got a surprise. About four pages of me and my siblings. One sweet pic of my brother and sister holding a newborn me. Lots of pics of the grandkids. Here’s a favorite–my sis as a toddler:

Here’s me as a beautiful 19-year-old, in a pic signed for Dad:

Which leads me to the next album. Wedding pictures of a couple I didn’t know. I think Dad came to be an honorary grandfather to their daughter. But as I was flipping through the empty pages behind those photos, a letter fell out. I don’t know how Dad came to have it, since he and my mom split years before, but it was a letter addressed to Mom from my Aunt Sandra, dated December 29, 1983:

“I hope this letter finds you getting along O.K. Dawn said you are having your treatments. I pray that they are helping. And I’m thinking every day Phyllis and thank God that Marlene is there helping you and being such a good friend. Building friendships, as you and Marlene have over the years, is one of life’s blessings.”

My mother was dead 20 days later. I never got along with Marlene, but the love she and my mother shared for years was precious. I hope I find a true love like that someday. And, like Sandra, I’ll always be grateful to her. And I’ll always miss my Mom, and cry my damned eyes out when I find stuff like this.

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