I had a wake-up call this morning. My one-year-old standard poodle, Bix, and I came down to my office to start work for the day. No sooner had I sat down at my computer when I heard him chewing on something. Thankfully I didn’t ignore the sound like I sometimes do; I immediately investigated. There was Bix, lying on the floor chewing on page 34 of the epic 37-page letter my grandfather wrote my grandmother in 1927. Bix responded to my thunderous “NO!” and dropped it, but the damage was done.
At first, I couldn’t figure out where he got it. I looked all around for where I had stored that precious letter. I found it up high, stored loose on top of the Adams archival photo box in my office closet. That’s right, on top of the box. (How lazy can I be?) For some reason, that particular page had fallen off the top of the box and Bix noticed it on the floor. I hurriedly put it back and started plucked bits of paper off of Bix’s legs. Before I knew it, the page fell off again.
Clearly, this is a very poor way to store a delicate item that’s precious to me. I’ve already scanned and transcribed the letter, so the torn words aren’t lost to me. But I’m heartsick that my carelessness resulted in damage.
So I’m taking action this morning to properly store the letter. It’s shameful–I even have the supplies on hand to store it properly. I actually have acid-free tape, which I picked up at a genealogy conference, so I will see if I can tape the fragments back onto the damaged letter. I consulted my copy of How to Archive Family Keepsakes, by Denise May Levenick, so I know I should carefully unfold the letter and store the pages flat, in order, in an archival file folder inside an archival document box. As soon as I post this, I will take care of it.
Do you have any precious inherited items that you could be storing more safely? I encourage you not to wait until you get a wake-up call like mine: take the time to properly store them now. If you need help on proper storage, Denise’s book is excellent.