Ettie Newlands

While it seemed so at the times, neither of two recent events were catastrophic, thanks to Abigail Van Buren, known for decades as Dear Abby.

Couple months ago, I lost everything in my computer that was filed under ‘Keep forever.’

Two weeks ago, I lost everything in my phone filed under anything, anywhere.

Hard drives, Apple replacements and computer techs aside, the pictures, emails, articles and the rest are not retrievable.

So I went back and read a clipping I cut out from a Dear Abby column 30 years ago. (I keep those in a hard, spiral-bound album called “Pieces too small to save,” but why it’s called that is another column.)

A reader whose signature was ‘Depressed in Houston’ wrote Abby this letter:

“Dear Abby,

“About a month ago we had a flash flood and I lost nearly all the treasures I had saved for 45 years. “Albums filled with pictures, letters, clippings – none of which can be replaced. I had them stored in plastic containers, and when I opened them, all I found was mud and water.

“It seems that a part of my life is gone and I am heartsick over it. I am 60 and have had a very happy life. Our children are married and gone and it’s just the two of us.

“I’ve tried to keep busy and not dwell on my loss, but it is on my mind constantly. I wish I could forget this terrible nightmare.

“Somehow I feel that you can help me. Abby, have you ever lost any of your treasures? And if you have, how did you get over it?”

Here’s Abby’s answer:

“Dear Depressed,

“Yes, Dear. I lost my beautiful mother in 1945, and she was only 57. A few years later, I lost a wonderful father who was 62.

“And not a day passes that I don’t thank God for letting me have my parents for as long as I did. I know many who were not nearly as blessed as I was, and I think of those who have survived a far greater tragedy – losing their children.

“Now, what were you saying about clippings and pictures and other “treasures?”

That yellowed, dog-eared article has helped me many times, including now.

And so will the half dozen jump drives I am now saving my stuff with.

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