Treasures from the Annie Archives

So awhile back, I shared the experience I went through finally dealing with my mom's stuff that had been in my aunt's garage for ten years. My mom passed away in April of 2003, so maybe it's fitting that it's April now - 11 years later -  and I continue to face things from her life that I'd been unable to deal with in the inbetween. Just this past weekend, Gus and I tackled about 12 boxes I wasn't even aware existed that were in storage. Though abstractly, I might have imagined going through my mom's things, especially her clothes, would be a pretty somber experience.

But it wasn't. I'd liken it more to being like a museum curator or archaeologist - constantly being on the verge of discovery. Every box that we went through was one that I had assumed didn't exist - so everything I found inside, to me, was a treasure. A treasure of my childhood, a treasure from decades ago like vintage photographs of my mother and her mother, or a treasure created by the sheer fact I still had it - like an old piece of writing or nostalgic VHS tape. And I was filled with so much love, and laughter, and gratitude for every piece and memory it brought back or created.

I didn't keep everything - in fact, I only kept about 3 small totes and four boxes and will be giving about 8 boxes (especially of clothes) to goodwill.

But what I did keep are things that really moved me. It's funny when you look at things you haven't seen in twenty years and you were so young at the time, you may not even remember something to begin with. It was an even more moving experience sharing these discoveries with Gus who definitely was seeing everything for the first time.

Mom was great about keeping my art and just through going through the stacks, I discovered I obviously had a love of Jim Henson, Muppets, and Sesame Street since at least 1988.


And yes, that's an actual cookie glued to Cookie Monster's nose. That's what a 20 year-old disintegrated cookie looks like, apparently.

In terms of other finds, given what you already know about me, is anyone surprised that I found a pair of these babies? I'd actually forgotten I owned them but am overjoyed to discover them again so I can use them. Obviously, they are very practical.


I wasn't the only one with funny clothing. My mom had some beautiful pieces, many of which I have saved for the future, but there were a few signature items that I don't think have passed the test of time. I share these with so much great love for each of these jackets - I remember her wearing each of them - and you better believe I'm keeping the rainbow one.


One of the most wonderful things was discovered evidence of one of my first design business - a "name catolog" from third grade I created with my best friend Tricia. The gist was we would draw and design your name in a specific style. For what purpose, I can't really remember.

We were very enterprising and business savvy for third graders - to the point that we were concerned about "copywrite" and warned people not to damage the "catolog" or we could fine them $.10. I wonder what that would be with inflation.


But of all things, one of the discoveries that's really sticking with me is this diary entry I found - not sure what the date is but I do remember writing it:


Once there lived a girl who dreamed of becoming a writer. That girl is me, Annie Fleishman. This story is about my life and the people in it. I hope it brings joy to others as it does to me. Everyone dreams of being a part of this world. My place is to be a writer. So I am "presuing" my dream to take my place in the great wonders of the world. 

I wrote this thinking it would begin my first novel. This weekend, I turned to the next page and discovered nothing but blank pages. I never got around to it.

Or maybe I did. Now that I'm a little older, here's a new draft - for now.

Once there lived a girl who dreamed of helping people celebrate their stories. That girl/woman is me, Annie Franceschi. The greatest story of my life is about me and the people in it. I hope I can bring joy to others as they do to me. Everyone dreams of being a meaningful part of this world. My place is to be a storyteller. So I am pursuing my dream in order to play a part in the great story of the world.