Each year I take a little walk down memory lane by reading some of my mother’s letters. Yes, I have dozens and dozens of them, many dating from the early 70’s. I have been accused in the past of saving “too *&%$^ much stuff!” but there are some things that I just wouldn’t part with, even for cross-country moves. So I have mother’s letters, sorted by years, neatly tucked into manila envelopes. This week I read 1976 through 1980.
Reading mother’s letters is soothing and reassuring. They are a reminder of her love, but also a testament to the difficulties that she faced and overcame. I sometimes forget that her life was not a bed of roses. She was a troubled woman, but also very strong.
I’m fascinated by the physical differences in her letters. Some are written in huge scrawling handwriting, often in bright blue or red ink on plain white paper. Others are neatly written in black ink on lined notebook paper. Most are typed. I often wonder if the scrawling ones are indications of manic phases or medication problems or depression. I’ll never know for sure. The contents don’t provide many clues. Some of the typed letters actually relate more depressing news than the others.
One of the noticeable patterns in mother’s letters is her constant support of whatever was going on in my life and the lives of her other children and grandchildren. No matter what financial or physical or emotional problems were facing her at the time she always gave me encouragement and guidance for my own life. She also mentions taking care of her grandchildren and teaching Sunday school and giving money to my brothers. She discusses problems, but always ends each discussion with hope for a positive outcome.
My mother’s letters have encouraged me once again to write more letters to the people I love. Emails communicate thoughts and plans and ideas, but there is something much more personal about a letter. And I think letters are more likely than emails to be saved. I don’t expect my friends or family members to save everything I write, but there might be a letter now and then worth saving for future generations.
I’d also like to share a blog with you- Bates Memories . This friend has the letters her parents wrote during the war and many are so precious.
I’ll end with this letter from my brother, John. I think it was written in 1977, but it wasn’t dated and I’d have to check through mother’s letters for some indication of when John went to camp. Maybe I’ll ask him today when I go visit!