Yes. I am that woman. The woman who keeps everything. Well, not so much such down-sizing and retiring. But I do still have the very first e-mail I sent after a business associate/friend helped me set up my very own, free, Yahoo e-mail account. The interesting thing about this is that I just thought about him the other day after going through some old photos.
"WOW! I'm in someone's data base! Sorry I didn't reply sooner - I thot this was the test we did the day you were here. I understand the War Troll captured some poor soul at the Faire last weekend. Kari said they really had a ball and took plenty of pictures so I'm looking forward to seeing those."
Rich's first e-mail to me, the one I was replying to on May 20, 1998, was: "Hi. Just added you to my database. Be sure to check in the "Options" in yahoo. Neat stuff to customize your e-mail like signatures." Eighteen years and I still haven't checked out Yahoo's options. I'm sure they've changed.
Other interesting early miscellaneous e-mails included one from a man about an article for Ultraflight Magazine. His query had landed in our company fax number - re-assigned to us but once the telephone # of a Frank Griffith - and some correspondence with a woman from Scotland looking for information on her Dalgety/Dalgetty relatives in Adams County. I did go out to the Oakland Cemetery at Quincy and copy down all the information from the headstones to send her.
Possibly the best of those early e-mails was one from our son, Mark, back when he was living in the San Francisco area and his e-mail address was dangerbooty.
In the beginning, I was forced to 'clean out my mailbox' because of the limited amount of storage. Then Yahoo gave us all unlimited storage and I became lax about deleting messages. Likewise relegating messages to folders. There have been times though when keeping all those old e-mails has been fortuitous - like when I've needed to go back to find something, an address, a recipe, the date when something happened - I enter a search word and there the information is.
I guess this isn't any different than keeping a shoe box full of letters tied up in a ribbon - maybe not as tactile or romantic - but just as memorable.