In high school I was a part of a tight knit group of friends and every summer we would go to the summer camp where we first met and embrace isolation from the real world; our fears would vanish, the rear view mirror of home life would fog up, and it would just be blue skies and fresh mountain air for an entire week. Life was marked by summers spent up at that camp and none of us wanted to forget it.
After we were too old to go to camp together, trips were planned to visit each other. One night at about 2 am, the group of us was punch drunk off the goodness of life, reminiscing about old times and dreaming of our unknown “destinies” when someone suggested we should try to predict the future by writing each others names in the order we would to get married on the back of a playing card. Whoever came closest would “win”. A promise was made to always be friends so we could find out who came closest to winning. I had The Queen of Hearts as my card, and she was there to solidify that promise.
The years have flown by since that night we wished on the flimsy playing card and the memories made have come to a halt. Our once inseparable group is now just individuals trying to get by in life. Lies were told, bridges burned, and the playing card was just another piece of paper jammed in the fold of my wallet.
One day, Mark, an old friend from our group, called me wanting to get dinner and catch up. When I asked why now after all this time, he said, “I found the playing card buried in my wallet and remembered the promise of always being friends.” That feeble piece of plastic came through. Mark had become a big partier since I had last talked with him. From getting kicked out of his house to losing his job, things weren’t looking up for him, which resulted in his reason for clinging to the playing card. As we talked through dinner memories made their way into the clear. The warmth of friendship we once had was so prevalent I could feel it on my skin. Mark continued to tell me about how he wanted to get in touch with everyone again and for us t all try to be friends again. For a moment, I felt like their actually was hope.
This is why I believe in holding on to sentimental entities; to remember the past, to comfort our present, and to secure our future. The playing card reminds me of those hot summers in the sun with good company and the blanket of laughter that followed us wherever we went. Before I heard about what Mark was going through and how he was dealing with it, I didn’t know why I held on to sentimental objects such as the playing card as much as I did. After that dinner, I was confident I wasn’t alone in holding on to these knick-knacks. No matter what it is we hold on to, we seek comfort from the past when we are having problems in the present and when we are scared of our future.
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