There are some things people can never throw away. Baby's first shoe. A lock of hair from their daughter's very first haircut. Old letters, photos and charms. Some people's lives are filled with a menagerie of special things.

Today I came across an item that is my very own keepsake. Somehow through the shuffle of growing up and moving around I've managed to hold on to my tenth birthday card. I remember my mother telling me she thought it looked like me. Or was it my Dad who said that? The memory is misty... I just remember sun, my bedroom, and how much I liked the beautiful card that I imagine had been painted just for me.

I kept it on the wall beside my bed with a thumbtack forever. This style of painting became a favourite of mine. I later loved this Renoir, 'Woman with a Parasol'. I remember painting my own version which my mother still has propped up in her china cabinet. Something about the bright highlights of colour and soft background still appeal to me. I think it's called Impressionist style.

I revisited again a few years ago in my stint with art school. Again picking a similar style of painting.

This one is an Albert Sisley, an impressionist painter too!  This one is called 'Chemin de la Machrine, Louvenciennes'. It's apparently still exactly the same. If I ever find myself in Paris I should hunt it down! Anyway as you can see the painting never got finished... but it helps me tie together this theme of pretty paintings that has stuck with me since this card. I can't ever throw it away or forget it. It made such an ( pardon the pun) impression on me!

The sweet inscriptions inside still make me tear up in a nice way too.

When i sit down to think about how much I love this card and why, I'm reminded of how beautiful the little things can be. Keepsakes can be anything. A tool, a photo, a little bit of handwriting - like in a bird book that's been around my house my whole life that I somehow ended up with. Again, it has stayed with me somehow.

Inside, on a paper taped to an index page are my grandpa's slightly shaky words:

"5 May 1989: Barb says she spotted 13 flocks many flying high in formation"
"9 May 91: Gaggle of say 200 headed east, not very high say 300 ', 6:30 am feeding?"

No matter the keepsake, they bring to us a peek into the past, and remind us of where we came from, the people that loved us and how they helped us become who we are today.

As long as you don't let your keepsake collection run rampant, I say it must be, in Martha's words- A good thing.

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