Today is my dad’s birthday. This letter he wrote, that I’ve saved since 1981, is one reason why I find it difficult to throw things away sometimes. Okay, all the time. I worry about discarding some piece of my dad’s life, some memory of him, or of my mom, now that she’s gone too. Once an item gets tossed, the related memory goes with it. Or so I fear.
Of course, I’m exaggerating a bit – I really do throw (some) things away. If it stinks, or has the potential to stink, it gets tossed. Otherwise, I can probably find a reason to save it.
My dad wrote this letter when I was at singing camp – yes, I went to singing camp, thanks to my participation in a touring children’s choir, the Young Singers of Callanwolde.
Singing camp was just like other camps – bunk beds, grimy bathrooms, murky green swimming pool, bad food, and bugs – except that at singing camp, we had rehearsals about five times a day. We sang for our supper, and our breakfast, and our lunch too. Every. Single. Day…. for what seemed like an eternity, but was probably about a week.
Ultimately, the best thing about singing camp was this letter from my dad. He wrote it to me when I was nine, less than a year before he died. I’m sure when he wrote it, he never imagined that the simple camp note would be such an important memento to me. Thirty years later, his note helps me remember what it was like to have a Dad.
I’m really glad it didn’t get thrown away.