There I was, writing a freelance article and trying to prove that I understand AP Style, and I got hung up on the word "Illness's". Spell checker told me it was alright, but I wasn't feeling sure about the hyphen, and so I reached to my shelf for the spot my AP style book has been for years--and it wasn't there.
At that point, I should have googled the word, or trusted spellchecker--but no. I thought it must be on the book shelf in my office closet, and I opened the doors that and holy shit. There's a lot of stuff in there. Boxes and envelopes and Christmas bags, and in each there is shoved some cool memorabilia--like the shirt we brought Jake home from the hospital in after he was born.
There's some pretty good stuff, and I figured my AP book was at the bottom of the pile and I should just move stuff around--and I found just heaps of stuff--like every single one of my college notebooks. My algebra notebook--because you never know when I am going to need an equation to find out how to reduce 85% butter fat into 15% butter fat.
As i sorted, I began to realize that I had precious stuff--like infant baby pictures, and hand paintings from preschool stuffed in paper bags and tossed like trash.
I figured I might as well start sorting things into piles and organizing them so that the precious stuff got saved, and my dish receiver from 1999 finally got the heave-ho.
I had my daughter go to the store to buy storage containers, and she and I set on the floor organizing things, I used that time to talk to my daughter about what it means to be 18--my major thrust was that it took me until I was in my mid-twenties to realize my mom was my biggest ally, and that I hoped she was smarter than I was and she could realize it when she was seventeen--she is going to be an adult soon enough, and so things are switching up and she should know that I am her mom and she is an adult, and she should know that I have her back and a lot of information.
During the conversation and picture shuffling, I found a picture of my aunt Marie curling my hair on the day of my second wedding. It reminded me that today was her birthday, and that she has been gone for 13 years. My middle name is Marie--she was some kind of a wonderful aunt and I still miss her.
After finding the picture, I found a letter that I had written to her, October 1st, 1999. It is obviously a rough draft as passages are crossed out and it ends abruptly--but the words that are there enumerate all of the things that I loved so much about her.
While I was reading the letter, it felt like it was a letter from my Aunt Marie to Me, because it spoke so clearly of the things I admired in a woman--the things that I learned from Aunt Marie.
I have watched enough psychic shows to entertain the idea that a letter from Aunt Marie is exactly what I got today. The words in the letter would be words she and I said to one another.
Furthermore, my closet was a pack rat mess with precious memories in paper sacks. Aunt Marie was a very organized woman, and my rat's nest would have driven her crazy--she would most assuredly suggest that I put my important memorabilia in organized containers.
I am not saying that Aunt Marie hid my AP book--even though I still haven't found it. I am just saying that in my search for the proper AP spelling, I unearthed 23 years worth of memories, and some of them were related to my Aunt Marie.
And now I have piles and boxes of crap on my office floor, and I am still not sure if illness's is spelled in AP style and I am finding some truly precious memories.