Monday, December 16, 2013

Preserve Your Memories

Frantically I scrolled through the cell phone. I rebooted it. Nothing doing.  The entire text history between myself and my son, dating back to last February when I acquired the phone was gone.

My husband was surprised to learn I even saved texts.  "Once you have the information, there's no reason to save any of it." 

(When marriage counselors write books about how opposites are attracted to each other, they should include a chapter on people who save texts and people who don't.)

Any 21st century parent knows that if you want to hear from your kids when they are out of the house you need to be adept at texting and email. 
Texting with my son didn't become vital, however, until he left for college this fall.  Since then my phone has filled with numerous messages about baseball, college classes, and the travails of the Cleveland Browns. All fall he texted me trivia questions relating to the baseball playoffs and the World
Series. For example on October 22nd he texted the following "On this day the ball went fair." He fully expected I would know this to be a reference to the 6th game of the 1975 World Series, known to folks my age as the Greatest Game Ever, won by the Red Sox in the bottom of the 12th inning thanks to a barely fair home run by Carlton Fisk. In between messages, when I'd be missing him, I look back through the old texts.

All are  gone now, along with everything else he sent me before the beginning of November.

The one I will miss most is the one he sent me on October 14th, informing me he had passed his Eagle Board of Review, and was officially an Eagle Scout.  I would have seen him in another hour anyway, but he knew I couldn't wait.

All are  gone now, along with everything else he sent me before the beginning of November.

I think there is a real issue here for many of us, one that will only grow with the sophistication of electronics.  We like tangible evidence of our experiences, yet our communications leave less of a paper trail all the time.   I have bundles of letters from high school and college friends, but almost nothing in more recent times.  I still send postcards when I'm on vacation, but have been reliably informed by some of the recipients that I'm the only person they know who does. 

Now I communicate with most people by phone calls, emails and texts.   In many ways we are actually in more frequent contact than before, but there is less to remember it all by.  I know people whose  children's entire childhoods exist nowhere but on their cell phones and Facebook. 

So lesson learned. Archive the emails. Copy the texts.  Print the photos, put them in an album, or under glass.  As Paul Simon once said:

"Long ago it must be/I have a photograph/Preserve your memories/ They're all that's left you."


  1. I wish I would have done that when my husband and I met. We met online and I wish I still had alot of those first emails we sent in the many many months we talked online before we actually met. Lesson learned.

    1. Exactly the sort of thing I was talking about Michelle. And it will be worse for our kids who live their entire lived on their cell phones.