Thursday, July 19, 2012


A couple weeks ago I worked on one of my usual summer cleaning/purging projects. In an effort to make space in my file cabinets, I purged some of my dad's papers that I no longer needed to keep for the estate.

I was really ripping through this huge folder of things, making great time. And then this envelope stopped me in my tracks.

There are several things about this that grabbed me and wouldn't let me go.

First of all, after my mother's death, Dad became hyper-vigilant about managing his money. He had made a lot of mistakes with money during their marriage, and he vowed not to do that ever again. So he balanced his checkbook, to the penny, every month. He told me about it on the phone regularly. He did a happy dance in his kitchen every time it came out right. He kept meticulous records, in envelopes like this.

Second, it cracked me up that he wrote, "Exactomundo." Like he was the Fonz. It was unusual by itself, but completely in character for my father. Then, he wrote, "Parfait," which is French for perfect. No one else ever saw these envelopes. They were for his own filing system. He wasn't jotting these things down to impress or amuse anyone but himself. At the reunion, people referenced things Dad would say, or said they were waiting to hear his little jokes and comments - he had a style and a "voice" that was distinctive. This envelope is a perfect example of that.

Finally, I just stopped and stared at the handwriting. That block handwriting he used because his cursive was atrocious. For a teacher, he had awful handwriting. We teased him about it all the time. So this block print was his way of being legible.

I miss seeing that handwriting.

My own handwriting is pretty bad - a hodge podge of cursive and printing that my students often can't read unless I am being really careful in my writing. But this envelope reminds me to keep writing things by hand. Some day, it might be precious to someone I love.


  1. I ran had one of those moments this last week myself and couldn't part with it...I decided to keep it as a note of encouragement and wonderful reminder of your Dad. Peace to you--PW