When I was little, my grandmother had this rustic vanity that took up a chunk of real estate in the small guess room where my sister and I stayed when we were visiting. In those drawers, we carefully placed our family memories. It’s hard to remember now that it was once used to store clothes. Little by little, over the years of our childhood, one drawer after another became dedicated to our memories. At first, we placed only our photos and mementos inside those hallowed cubbies and drawers. Then, when she was 8 or 9, my sister received her first scrapbook. Her life-long hobby began there, on the bare boards of my grandmother’s guest room, with photos, ribbons and colored paper, Mitzi became the archivist, historian and keeper of our family’s greatest joys and sorrows.
Luckily for us, my grandmother only lived a few blocks away. Even our mother understood when my sister wanted to get ready for her wedding day in our special room. The day before the ceremony, we cleared the underwear drawer, the last clothes ever to see the inside of our beautiful rustic vanity. The space was to be donated to a new phase of our lives, weddings. Little did I know at the time that I would be getting married a short one year later. In any case, I knew there was room for not one but two scrapbooks in there, and that my sister would have it under control, like she always did.
During the ceremony, I had my cousin scoop up rice and go on a treasure hunt of things my sister could go crazy with after her honeymoon. We saved invitations, napkins, menus and a thousand other things that would never make it to a scrapbook. By now, everyone knew about my sister’s addiction to all things craft. Woefully, we were all enablers. For me, it was personal, as I was the beneficiary of much of her work. She made me keep a “happiness” diary my senior year. It disappeared about a week before graduation, but I loved her surprises, so I didn’t ask. As soon as we got back from the graduation, my sister handed me a beautiful creme-colored scrapbook, ornately decorated. When I opened it, the first picture was of the rustic vanity. “Make More Memories” read the caption is Mitzi’s flawless calligraphy. For such a happy day, I sure did cry a lot that night.
Sadly, my grandmother has had a few health scares in recent years. After a battle with an aggressive lung infection last year, she called my sister and me and asked us to come over. When we got there, we had all the drawers open on our vanity. “You girls have made my life worthwhile,” Gram said. “When I go, keep this vanity in the family. Promise me.”
It was the easiest promise we ever made. After all, who would turn down the gift of a lifetime of happy memories?