I’ve been doing some sorting out – there’s a few boxes I’ve not unpacked since we moved here, 7 years ago, some of which I’ve carted around for many of the previous 12 moves since I left Canberra in 1988. Today I finished unpacking one of those boxes. A fair few papers went straight to recycling; some things went to the charity pile.

But there are other things that I can’t, yet, part with – even though I’d forgotten I had some of them, or hadn’t thought about them for years: the merit certificate from 6th Grade; the photo ID card from secondary college; my airline tickets, reservation letters, and receipts from my 4-month overseas trip when I was 20; the wedding invitation and thank you note from friends who have since divorced; letters from the never-quite boyfriend of long ago; postcards from friends I’ve since lost touch with.

Snippets of my life, my friends’ lives, and the points where they intertwined.

I’ve put them in a different, smaller box, along with other ephemera. They’re not important, official documents; they probably, at some time, will be tossed out. Even if by some small chance I end up being famous, I can’t imagine any archive wanting a silver-fish nibbled swap-card album from the late 1960s, with only a dozen cards in it… but that’s my name, written in a painstaking, childish hand on the front, and  my pre-1969 address printed in my Dad’s handwriting, and it and the letters, postcards and other items are tangible reminders of connections, the love, and the friendships, of my life.

Swap card album circa 1967