My mother, who is in a 20-year process of "cleaning out the house," often sends me UPS boxes filled with stuff. One never knows what this stuff might be, and I mean never. She is a pack rat; a tidy and organized pack rat to be sure, but this is someone who has a whole lot of issues with getting rid of stuff. So I get cut-out Wall Street Journal articles form 1987, ball-point pens with the names of long-defunct businesses on them, soap bars, and yes, YES, once she sent a packet of rectal suppositories dated 1964. After I stopped laughing about 5 years later, I asked her WHAT she was thinking of with that latter item. 'Well, they still must be good, right? You could use them still!" I started laughing again and have yet to stop. It's becoming a personal difficulty at this point.

The best things my mom sends are things she saved from my childhood. They have been long packed away, most of them -- some still in boxes from when my family moved in 1971, some from when we moved again in 1982. Today as I was going through my own 20-year cleaning process, I looked at something from a recent package -- a scrapbook I made in 1st grade, primarily filled with the Valentine's Day cards I received at school that February.

I vaguely remember doing this,thinking that the cards were so lovely and the expressions so flattering that I could not bear to just throw them away. People liked me, they really liked me! This is how you think at seven years old, like the person who gave you the Valentine was really saying how they felt about you. It's terribly cute. Anyway, opening the scrapbook and seeing these cards is a stark reminder that a full 40 years has passed, because they look SO OLD they might as well date from the Victorian Era. They are charming and a little scary, which is how I like stuff to be.

Ha ha, long-faced dude with a crewcut = "square!" It's true.

This is pretty much what all little girls looked like in the late '60s -- a perky dress, a wide headband, a flip cut, and we played demurely with kittens all day long.

There's something I really like about the juxtaposition of this demure polar bear next to the beat up nasty spiral wire and water damaged paper of the scrapbook.

I'm pretty sure these two had something to do with Nazi Germany.

She doesn't look like a kid to me. She looks like a chipper-but-slightly-butch lesbian talk show host.

This just looks like everyone's mom.

The ones with the raised silver sparkles made me feel extra WOW.

Oh look, it's the Small-Town Ho. I hope it wasn't this kid's mom.

The Isadora Duncan Valentine.

LOL, a corded phone.

Damn beatniks!

Aw, look at my role models.

Oh, dear. An overly-enthusiastic eggman. Goo goo ga joob.

And finally, proof that no one ever spells my name right.