Artifacts

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Announcing a New Son
SCHAIN — a son, Eric Hiram, to Mr. and Mrs. Raphael Schain (Natalie Cohen, formerly of this city) of 911 Cooke Street, Waterbury, on January 2.

On the back of the thickly laminated clipping, “Thank you for giving a cerebral palsy child the chance
to walk –
to talk –
to play.
Clipped from New Haven Conn Register”

I found it in an old hutch that I moved out of my study to make way for the new desk.  The cupboard was full of VHS tapes — Adrienne’s dance recitals, Eisner Camp summers, professional trainings.  The top drawer was stuffed with napkins (Eric often ate while he watched TV in this room), paperwork and power cords from long forgotten small electronics, two ancient, fancy calculators the kids needed for high school math, one gutted to its plastic shell.

The birth announcement was in the drawer, along with a child’s tooth wrapped in a note with handwriting I’m almost positive is mine.

Dear Tooth Fairy,
Mat would like a gemstone rather than money for his tooth. Thank you.

Was my nephew Matt staying with me when he lost a tooth?  I don’t remember that but it’s certainly possible.  But why didn’t I know how to spell his name?  Do I know a Mat?  I put the tooth, wrapped back in the note paper, in the box on my bureau with my kids’ teeth. What else could I do with it?

Cleaning up clutter can be an archeological experience.  Mother’s Day cards back to the 90’s, diaries and journals that go back to 1964.  I must have taken my 1967 diary from my sister Jeanne.  Her name is written in the front and there’s a bunch of torn out pages between March 20 and April 20.  I take over on April 24th.

April 26:  Wed.  Dear Diary, Boy, am I depressed.  Paul never pays any attention to me anymore.  I was president today.  I think David likes me.  I’m sure Morse hates me. Today at play rehearsal a kid commented on my weight.  I wish I weren’t so ugly.  Oh well, I’m miserable.  Luv, Gracie

I was president?  Hot shit.  But of what?

I still had a crush on Paul in my 1968 diary.

 

 

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About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
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