I don’t know about you, but I have a habit of “saving” bits and pieces of memories. This morning I got in the mood to clear what I refer to as “my debris field”; the growing stack of thank you cards, invitations and clippings evolving near the phone in the corner of the kitchen desk. I dug into my task, out! Out! out! The thrill of tossing things carried over to my dressing room catchall travel drawer. I got so into my task that I dragged the big kitchen trash can into the room to have at it; sorting through the saved “treasures;” complimentary airline eye masks, combs, tiny packets of extra buttons, cards, receipts, and foreign coins. As I got closer to the bottom of the drawer, I came upon a small stack of blank hotel stationery from my travels. I scolded myself, “Come on Donna, you’ve got to stop saving these sorts of things. People no longer even write letters.” I heard that critical voice in my head.
I stopped what I was doing and stared out the window. Possibly a bit lost in thought, I wandered around the house with the small bundle until I found my husband. “Ken, Ugh! I have been saving blank hotel stationery. How silly I am.”
“I’m not so sure it’s so weird. “ He said, smiling as he drew me into a hug. “You are my revered, possibly strange wife.”
We both laughed. I tried going back to my sorting but the past pulled me into it. When I was a little girl my grandparents, who lived across the street from Farmer’s Market in Hollywood, were my frequent babysitters. Both my grandfather, Big Ray, and my grandmother, Maymie, had a profound influence on the woman I would someday grow up to be. 
In 1929 as a young mother, my grandmother traveled, by herself, around the world, on a six month tour. Her habit was to take a sheet or two of the hotel stationery from every exotic hotel in which she stayed. Across her life, she doled those pieces out in long and friendly letters. She treasured those pieces of paper and taught me to do so.
My grandmother modeled so much for me. When I was 18 years-old she took me as her companion on a six week cruise of the South Pacific on the Matson Line ship, the Mariposa. It was time-dividing for me as it was six weeks of being treated as a real adult. She modeled high values, the importance of independence, and taught me about investments. In 1963, before I married, she drove me around the Venice, California peninsula (now Marina Peninsula) and showed me lots for sale filled with oil wells. She explained that I could purchase such a lot, a block from the beach, for $10,000 and that she would help me. I decided not to do that, but the fact that she took me real estate looking at age 20 was an important lesson.
She taught the value of world travel and having a heart for other cultures and people. It was she to whom I ran as a ten year-old in the Woolworth’s ten cent store in Little Rock, Arkansas. I was eager to show her that I had found a drinking fountain that served mineral water, surely that’s what “Colored Water” must have meant? 
She taught me to have compassion, to treasure the past, and to have an appreciation for the family collection of hand painted porcelain. Only recently did I realize that my living room looks an awfully lot like the living room in her house during my growing up years, complete with her small Chinese nut bowl on the coffee table. Certainly, without her guidance during my impressionable years, being a port of calm in my chaotic childhood, I would not have come to be who I am, to appreciate the past, or to love history, or art. In rethinking about my stash of blank hotel stationery from the 2017 Japan trip, staying at the Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo, I am realizing it is emblematic of my grandmother's great influence. 
Maybe I need to relax a little. If saving some sheets of stationery for letters I will never write is some small act which connects me to my heritage, maybe it’s something for me to celebrate rather than to criticize. Surely Maymie helped to mold the anxious girl I once was into the woman I became. Perhaps those little blank pages are in many ways a bit of buried treasure. I shared this with my youngest sister, Diana, who came along 27 years after me. [I have 4 sisters and 3 brothers]. Diana says she too has the same stationery habit! We both laughed and understood that this is one more lovely connection that further binds us to our past. So “treasure?” I think so.
What quirky little habits do you have which draw you closer to some moments in your past? I love hearing what you are thinking. My best, donna