A Manila Envelope

By Mark Hopper


Recently, I received a large Manila envelope in the mail from my brother.  He is my favorite brother. Actually, he is my only brother! He sends me a birthday card every year and signs it – “Your Favorite Brother”. I wasn’t sure what he was sending me .  My birthday is in August.  I knew it was too early and too big for a birthday card.  So I was curious.  What was in this large envelope? He must have been cleaning out some old files and boxes, because he sent me some old photos and newspaper clippings.  I suspect that these were things that my father and mother collected over the years.  My brother must have found them as he cleaned out some files after they died.

There were some real treasures among the things he sent.  There were pictures of our children when they were in elementary school.  There were a few pictures of some family gatherings.  And, there was a picture of my brother and me and our wives with my dad after our mother had died.  There were a few photos of my wife and I with my parents at my graduation from seminary in 1975.

The envelope also contained some old newspaper clippings of me when I was in high school and college.  One news article was about a good looking young man who had been named “Newspaper Boy of the Year” in Phoenix Arizona by the Arizona Republic in 1968.  That good looking guy was me!  There was a nice picture of me receiving this special award.  According to the article there were over 2,000 newspaper carriers in Phoenix at that time.  Somehow, the Arizona Republic selected me!

Another newspaper article reported that two young men had been selected to represent Arizona at the annual “Boys Nation” gathering in Washington, DC in July, 1968.  The American Legion sponsored “Boys State” in all fifty states each year.  In each state, young leaders gathered on a college campus to learn about leadership and government.  They  held elections and selected representatives for the various branches of state government.  I was one of over 300 young men who attended the Arizona Boys State convention in 1968.  I was one of the two young men selected to go to Boys Nation in Washington, DC.  That brought back many memories.  During that week in Washington, we met with President Johnson in the White House Rose Garden.  We also met with Vice President Hubert Humphrey later that week.  We had private tours of the nation’s Capitol, the White House, the  Pentagon and the State Department.  It was a week that I will always remember.

There were a few other items in that large Manila envelope.  There were a few cards written by our mother.  There was my second grade spelling book.  I don’t think my parents saved my report cards.  That is probably best! There are many passages in the Bible that urge us to remember our past and reflect on God’s blessings.  The Bible also instructs us to share these stories with our children and grandchildren.  In the book of Deuteronomy chapter six it says, “Teach your children and talk about these things when you are at home or out for a walk – at bed time or the first thing in the morning”. I am confident that you probably have some envelopes and files at your house that contain some family treasures.  Let me encourage you to get them out and take some time to share them with  your immediate and extended family.   They will be glad you did and you will too!

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd


Sunday Services: 9:00 &10:45 AM


Local Ads