Sunday, April 1, 2012

Health Activist Writer’s Month! Day 1 #HAWMC

For the month of April (also Sjogren's Awareness month), I will be involved in WEGO Health's blog-o-rama, where I am to write a blog post a day. I get four "freebie" days where I can skip posting, and each day has a special theme. Today's them is: Health Time Capsule - "Remember your first trip to a history museum and peering into the glass cases of the ancient Egyptian artifacts? Simply seeing those artifacts helped bring the stories to life. It is incredible to see how people lived before us. Even seeing objects in an attic from several decades ago can inspire you to imagine the stories of the people who owned them. Every life has a story. But often the most well-preserved stories are those accompanied by physical objects and visuals. In this year’s kick-off to HAWMC, create a time capsule of your stories, your life."

The year is 2112. RUSH fans everywhere are celebrating. Meanwhile, a small case is brought to a lab. It' has been sealed against the ravages of time. The items contained within are of one Pamela Curtis. They've read her writing, but now they get to open the time capsule... the room is silent in anticipation. There aren't many of them. Perhaps less than ten people. But they've been waiting for this day a long, long time. The container is opened, and each item is brought out carefully, lovingly, and set down on the lab table for inspection. Everyone who has gathered to watch has a favorite item that catches their eye as it's removed.

A leather jacket, with her painting on the back, is carefully laid on the table. The note accompanying it explains that this is an item from her time right before her historic illness. The leather jacket itself is one typical to motorcycle riders at the time, but she was never known to ride herself. The painting on the back, the note explains, is taken from the album, "Ghosts in the Machine" by The Police. She began her career being an anonymous part in the great empire of software building. She did work that the public would never see, but was absolutely vital to the success of the projects. She was a ghost in the machine, and she was oddly proud of it.

Next are boxes of print photographs, showing her growing up with her family. A map is included of all their travels, and the trips she did on her own. One interesting set of pictures is of her and her sister with their city chorus in East Germany while it was still under Soviet control, before The Wall fell. There's also a picture of her and her sister, both very young, in Brooklyn Heights, looking back at Manhattan and the Twin Towers. There's a photograph of her and her father, both in graduation robes, showing their diplomas from Saint Louis University (her, undergraduate; him, law school). There's a picture with her family in raincoats in front of Niagara Falls, her as a child, with a note of the back: "Pam with 102 fever - what a trooper!"

Finally, there is a very sad, and sorry looking teddy bear. To be honest, it looks more like a zombie bear. One embroidered eye is bigger than the other, and missing a pupil. The ears are torn, and what little fabric is left has been stitched back together with the wrong color thread. There are holes under his arms where the stuffing is in danger of falling out. But he's dressed in a little hand-knit, green sweater, and attached to the collar is a small bell. There's a hand written note, penned sometime when she was much, much older. This teddy bear is as old as I am. His name is Twoey, because at the time was two and proclaimed I liked two of everything, the name stuck. He survived two German Shepherds, a little sister, and my own tomboyish ways. He has been with me through everything. (There were originally two bells, and they were in his ears. My mother made the sweater.) He's badly broken too, but I still love him with all my heart, just as I was still loved.

The box is empty.

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