I was rummaging around our second bedroom last week, looking for some guitar picks when I came across a photo envelope from Eckerd drug store. I forgot I had brought it back from mom’s house when I visited her this past Memorial Day. The envelope, filled with old photographs from over the years, contained my first ever letter to the editor. Ironically, I wrote it in college within a week or so of U2’s release of The Joshua Tree.
I stopped my search for the guitar picks and began to read the Xeroxed letter. It was not my best composition. However, it was my first published piece in a newspaper where I gave the editorial department at the Daily Iowan, our student newspaper, my two cents worth about their review of such a brilliant album. I have since had other letters to the editor published in Vanity Fair, Spin and Rolling Stone to name a few, but that’s not what is important here. Nor is the content of the letter, which tries to convince the paper that the reviewer overlooked key items on U2’s masterpiece. What’s important is that I found this in a scrapbook that my mom kept, which included almost all of my correspondence to her from college.
It’s interesting what you find in your parent’s keepsakes of your young life. Yes, there are the paintings from the refrigerator, a clay sculpture from a Saturday art class and yes, a letter to the editor. All of which are items of your past that you barely remember executing until you find them years later. Some of these things, at the time of their creation, were inconsequential pieces of your life but they became treasures to your parents. My mother obviously knew how important U2 was in my life when I was in college and this Xeroxed newspaper clipping is a reflection of her understanding of my fandom. I’m happy she knew how much they meant to me and even more so, how much she means to me. I think she knows, as she slips into the winter of her life, that she was the guiding spirit to this book project.