i am surrounded,
almost to the point of suffocation, really,
with boxes of family history and herstory.
photos out the wazoo.
birth certificates
death certificates
marriage certificates.
family documents,
legal documents
all carefully organized
and stored in archival quality boxes,
these papers
that prove somebody existed,
but not that they lived.


  1. Elizabeth Marie

    Oh. Your last line! Kind of helps me understand why I’ve been hesitating to do a “chore” I need to do to move forward in a certain area of my life. I cannot seem to make myself “break into” a box that looks a lot like those in your photograph and poem. “Suffocation” is just the right word to describe how I feel whenever I have to pull out that box.

    Sending you warm thoughts.

    • whollyjeanne

      good luck. i’m about to set myself up a scanning schedule and fill digital boxes so i have physical space. xoxo

  2. Angela

    Beautiful post. Thinking, now, of what would fill the boxes to prove that they lived, or, really, what do I want to fill my boxes?

  3. Karen Sharp

    “Everybody dies but not everybody lives.”

  4. jo miller

    okay…have tried 4 or so times for the right comment I surrender. 🙂 You captured this. ‘the this’ hanging out there in the atmosphere. I do like exploring “the this’
    quite simply, you touched a part of me & I will never be the same. Good job.

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Hey, Sugar! I'm Jeanne Hewell-Chambers: writer ~ stitcher ~ storyteller ~ one-woman performer ~ creator & founder of The 70273 Project, and I'm mighty glad you're here. Make yourself at home, and if you have any questions, just holler.

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