Memory Box 2016

I’ve kept journals on and off for most of my life, but somewhere around the beginning of college I wanted a way to physically save memories. Words were helpful in preserving the way I felt at a particular moment, but I wanted something palpable. In the pre-college flurry, in the middle of hunting for different organizational supplies (because this year was going to be different, everything would have a place at last), I developed an idea. I purchased a few small plastic boxes and labeled them with the year. Throughout the course of the year, I would fill a box with scraps of paper, pieces of memories.

It worked. Better than I thought it would, if we’re being completely honest. The box from  is tucked away at home, the 2015 box is a mess of memories, and the 2016 box from this semester is nearly overflowing. Here are some of the things inside:

PostSecret was founded by Frank Warren in 2005, wherein people mail their secrets to him anonymously via a homemade post card. I went to the show with two of my best friends and we all literally laughed and cried as actors read off some of the secrets and online community responses to the secrets. After intermission, the actors read off secrets written by audience members. My favorite was: “My husband and I had sex on my boss’s desk, while she was away on vacation. I just made eye contact with her in the audience.” All of the secrets can be found online at:

Every year around Valentine’s Day, flowers can be purchased in the sub as a fundraiser for one of the sororities. This year, Nathan sent me one. The card reads: “You’re a good friend… I guess…” TRUE FRIENDSHIP GOALS.


Every semester Ubiquitous They puts on a comedy show. I rushed from one event to the show this semester and wasn’t the least bit disappointed. There was one specific sketch that has stuck with me: A TV host announces to an excited girl that they’ve found her mother who has been lost at sea. She begins jumping up and down as a crew of people carry out her dead mother’s body. On my left, tears were leaking out of Thomas’s eyes as he laughed. On my right, Banji had one hand covering his mouth in a frozen state of shock.

Here is a list of everything else in the box:

  • My ticket and program from RENT, which was the student theater production this semester.
  • A sticker for Crosscurrents. It is watercolored blue and apparently Crosscurrents was founded in 1958?
  • A Valentine’s day card from my grandparents.
  • A list of “Things I Know” that was originally made as a reference point to spring off of for poetry. The list claims such things as: “the Ferris Wheel was designed for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair” and “my first word was ‘hi.’”
  • A tie-dye postcard advertising WORD STOCK 2016, which put on by the English department on the 25th of April.
  • Sketches from a workshop put on by Krista Franklin, a visual poet. She had everyone dig through magazines and lead us to create our own visual poetry. It was interesting and a lot of fun, particularly because I haven’t made a collage since I was in elementary school.
  • A piece from one of those magazines, that I thought was interesting. Underlined is a quote from one of the people being interviewed: “Gift. For not drowning.” Not sure why it sprung out at me, but it did.
  • My notes from the Jonestown Survivor speaker. It was an amazing presentation and I have so much sympathy for the amount of long-term trauma being in Jonestown caused.
  • A letter from Maddy, that claims: “You are a wonderful person, and I think everything becomes better when you are around. Even at 9:30 in the morning.” Apparently, Emily compared the letter I got from Maddy to the letter she got — which began: “Dear fartface.”
  • My wristband from the dance put on by Beta, with my name spelled Telena.
  • Bits of curly ribbon that were tied onto the fruit basket Emily got for her birthday. We sat out on Todd Field, soaking up the sun and eating strawberries.
  • Adam Lewis’s name tag from Career Fair. Not sure why I have it, tbh.
  • An exercise from the Suicide Prevention and Awareness workshop that was put on this semester. We were tasked with originally writing down twenty-four words that described our life. That was slowly broken down, so we were left with one word. Mine? Laughter.
  • The bag tag that I got over spring break, when I went down to Vancouver to visit Maddy and meet up with Emily.
  • My wristband from the first time I went to the Museum of Glass.
  • A poster advertising Crosscurrents.
  • Notes made by Banji, from back when we were coming up with theoretical short film plot lines.
  • My receipt from January, when I bought some of my textbooks at the bookstore. Grand total from this one trip? $469.97.
  • Notes someone from my poetry class took on one of my poems. A sestina, titled “Generalized,” that I wasn’t sure how I felt about, but everyone else seemed to love.
  • A card from the Office of Finance given to me for Student Appreciation Week.
  • A letter from my best friend that took me way to long to respond to.
  • The program from Underground Sound’s 2016 Spring Concert, which was amazing.