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June 29, 2009


Thank you for this post
It is so poignant and it touches me deeply as I try to come to terms with who I once was and who I have since become, to untangle the knots of the intervening years and make sense of my life now
Would we wish to know all that lies ahead of us?
In my case I think not
But perhaps, armed with the knowledge of foresight I could have side-stepped a few emotional snares and steered a safer course through the landmines that were strewn across my path
Hindsight may be a wonderful thing
But give me foresight anyday!

Oh, Beth. Hugs.


And I forgot to ask: how many of you recognize what's in the top photo?

I read this earlier this evening, felt incredibly moved but had no suitable words to respond with. Now I'm back in a fit of insomnia, and still feel tongue-tied. The regrets for past actions and the shattered hopes speak of pain, yet what I know of you, Beth, is that you grew into a strong and loving person. Probably we all have some of these kinds of growing pains, hmm? Reading this also made me feel hesitation in going through what I still have of my mother's old letters and all the old family albums, not so much that I'd find skeletons but just the heavy weight and flood of memories that can overwhelm me for hours and days. Ach, the insomnia is speaking...

No, I could not figure out what's in the top photo... a mouse trap, an ancient slide projector??

Looks like a pair of ski boots.
My MIL was just telling us she found her diaries, in Finnish, from when she was 15 onwards and how powerful it was reading them. She's the only one who can! She was obviously having powerful feelings towards the young girl she was, in Finland during the war and afterwards. Her grandmother's family had to leave their farm in Karelia (don't know if that is the right spelling) with just what they could carry. Knowing that all their animals would be killed. The Russians took over. The farmland is still part of Russia.

Looking around this sprawling place and trying to imagine leaving with what I could carry, I'd have a cat or two, a laptop and probably a camera around my neck.

Zuleme, you've got it (why am I not surprised?) That's a pair of original leather lace-up Molitor ski boots that J. bought in 1963, when he was in seventh grade. I think they were all handmade in Switzerland. The first buckle boots weren't made for a few more years. These Molitors represented the transition from flexible boots to stiff-sided boots, to go with ski that had edges. Ah, technology!

Thanks to both you and Marja-Leena for your comments and personal stories - I'm kind of fascinated that Zuleme's refers to Finland right after you spoke of your mother's letters, Marja-Leena.

Ah Beth! Old letters and journals! Fascinating, embarassing, enlightening, heart-tugging, hypnotic. I have so many, have been wondering what to do with them.

It seems apt that you should find this briefcasee just as you're about to close the door on one part of your life and enter another.


How bittersweet finding that old suitcase full of papers must have been. I wonder why you didn't recognize it. I had forgotten what a 13 cent stamp looked like, and I don't remember the 10 cent ones at all.

That top photo looks like some kind of odd saddle to me.

I only know you through your blog, Beth, but the letter of recommendation is just how I imagine you. So I think that girl is still there, but with additions and improvements. I guess the hardest lesson life has for us is learning how to save what we can of its essence, and then let the past go. Some of it slips away quietly, some tears painfully.

Even in old age there's growth and newfound pleasure.

Poignant. It's been years since I've re-read old letters like that...

"She is patient, industrious, and determined, full of imagination and curiosity. Working with her is a challenge and a pleasure." Still true!

I recognized the boots since my husband is Swedish and could ski as soon as he could walk! And of course, I'm in skiing country and just vidioed a reenactment of Hannes Scheider's arrival in our valley. He was a famous skiing instructor freed from the Nazis by a local man and brought to run Mount Cranmore.
It has been raining so much here we look like a Northern jungle. All the books are curling.

ski boots ?

You are brave to open that bag and read the letters, Beth. I have a couple boxes of such letters and even the whiff of dust and old paper I get on opening the box ambushes me in a way that makes me hungry.

At the same time if I do manage to read a few on occasion I slip into a good writing place almost immediately.

And as for the ski boots photo, the window edges are just as evocative. To me.



Exactly as Natalie says. Plus maybe it doesn't do to regret or to wish backwards. What is good and strong now was moving into position even then.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.