Confessions Of A Pack Rat, And A Letter From Home…

I’m not a hoarder. Honest. I’m a pack rat. Not proud of it, but there it is. I keep stuff with the genuine intention of using it one day, or finding a new purpose for them. Granted, I’ve also accumulated a ridiculous amount of worthless “stuff” as well, but that’s bound to happen when you’ve lived in the same apartment for 15 years.

The major side effect of moving to OKC is that I have to actually MOVE to OKC. The process has proved to be much more daunting than I thought. Granted, my employer is paying for a relocation company to do it for me. But, after 15 years in the same apartment, and 41 years in Kalamazoo over all, I’ve accrued quite a variety of junk that may or may not follow me to Oklahoma City.

For instance, the comic book collection. Can’t remember the last time I read a comic book. Yet, for some reason, I have four boxes full of assorted comics. And sports cards – it started with baseball, then football, then basketball, then golf, then hockey, then comic cards. Ugh.

For a while, I collected coins. Not in an organized way, sadly. So, I keep finding random coins everywhere that I at some point thought were cool.

Rocks. Yes, rocks. My parents can tell you I would come home with pockets full of rocks I thought were cool. It’s stuff like that that still has me trying to figure out why they kept me.

Various bills, records, etc. – in this day and age, you don’t dare just “throw away” anything with your info on it, for fear of identity theft. Ergo, I have AT LEAST 4 paper boxes FULL of receipts, bills, or statements just waiting to be shredded. Oy vey…

I also came across old poems I wrote to, and letters I received from, some of the girls I’ve fallen for over the years. I even found pictures from my cross country trip to Houston back in the early 90’s. Ahhh, young love…what the heck was I thinking? But that’s a post for another time. As for the letters and poems, I promptly discarded them without hesitation. No sense reliving a painful part of the past, about which I’d REALLY rather forget.

But, sometimes holding on to something is a good thing…

In going through a box FULL of miscellaneous papers, I stumbled upon a couple envelopes, and a post card, which caught my eye first. I honestly do not remember EVER seeing it before. The front was a photo of the Hawkeye Lodge, in Iowa City, and had an obvious 60’s or 70’s look to it. Sure enough, I flipped the card over to find a post mark of December 28, 1973, and the handwriting was unmistakeable.

I have to take a moment to explain for those of you who have never seen my father’s handwriting. It is best described as calligraphy. Seriously. To this day, ALL his correspondence is written by hand. Unless it is official business, in which case he uses an old Selectric typewriter. No foolin’. No computer. No word processor. It’s either by hand, or typewriter. But, I digress.

Dad is a musician, and back in the 70’s, dad was on the road a lot. This particular time three year old me had laryngitis, and dad was writing me to say he loved me, and hoped I’d be able to “talk real loud” soon. ( be careful what you wish for, eh dad?)

As intriguing as the card was, it couldn’t match the letter I read next. Once again, I don’t remember EVER seeing it before. The outside of the envelope has a picture of the Hotel Ohio East in Chicago. And again, the calligraphy on the outside was a dead give away as to who sent it. Not paying attention to the postmark, I took out the letter, and begin to read…

“Dear Enrique,

Daddy’s little man…I want to be the first to send you a letter in your new home, and I also want to say in my simple way I love you very, very much.”

New home? I know I didn’t get this recently, so it’s not OKC. And I don’t recall getting it when I moved to either Augusta or Parchment. What gives? THAT’S when I noticed the date: April, 1974. I got chills. Then I continued to read…

“I love your mother also and I hope she loves me. Do you think she does…? Be a big boy for mom, will you? I miss you.

Love, Daddy”

How sweet is that? Dad wrote this letter from his gig in Chicago to the four year old me at the time we moved from Vine Street in Kalamazoo (where my earliest memories began), to West Main.

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for me to find this letter. Moving to a new city, a new home, it serves as a reminder of how much my dad cares for me, and always has since before I was born.

A woman with whom my mom works recently said “congratulations…even though it’s gonna be rough on your parents.” I know it is. There’s never been a doubt how much they love me. And thanks to modern technology, we’ll be able to keep in touch. Or who knows? Maybe, one of these days, I’ll pick up a pen and write them a letter.

2 thoughts on “Confessions Of A Pack Rat, And A Letter From Home…

  1. E – what a cool post. It brought tears to my eyes, I can’t even imagine what you felt. The timing really was perfect. What a cool dad you have my friend. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Awww…Tito get me a tissue!! Simply beautiful E. There is nothing like the love of a parent(s) and I can see there is some mad love in the Martinez household which one day you will share with your soul mate.

    Love ya and take care,
    D

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