I have mentioned previously that I am a changeling. Whereas my parents and brother and sister never throw anything out, I keep a black bag at the bottom of the wardrobe which I fill up with unused, unnecessary or grown out of things to give away.
When we were once at my parents’ house in Cork, Michael was looking for a bookmark. I dug into the pile of papers on the desk and pulled out a scrap of old envelope.
When we got home to Dublin, it floated on to the ground and I picked it up to throw it in the bin. This is what it was:
My mother won a DAAD scholarship to Germany in the late 1950s and she clearly kept the envelopes in which she received her correspondence (based on her later behaviour, I can confirm that this is typical; sometimes because it is handy to have scrap paper – not, I would have thought, hugely needed in our house – and sometimes to keep the address on the back). She loved her time in Freiburg and, indirectly, it led to her meeting my father as I covered here.
Now, of course, ironically, I can’t throw out this scrap of envelope.