Thoughts on the Letters

Just before we left home for our summer sojourn, I packed up everything in my sewing room so our house sitters would have that closet to use. Now that we are back in our home, I’m moving everything back into my sewing room. I’m sorting through stuff and getting rid of things I no longer want or can’t use, and reorganizing what’s left. I reorganized my quilting supplies and fabrics so that I can get to anything I need. I have lots and lots of projects to keep me busy for a while, especially this winter. I still have lots of art supplies, yarn for knitting, and cards for stamping. No boredom this winter!

I also found a box full of memorabilia, mostly letters and cards from people I love, some of whom have passed away. I have letters from both of my grandmothers and Hubby’s grandparents, even the grandfather who hated writing letters. I have a letter from my cousin, Lori, who died shortly after sending it due to breast cancer. I have letters from my mom over the years and a few letters from my dad. There are letters from Hubby’s mom. Friends have sent me cards and letters that were especially meaningful to me and I kept those. I have a letters from our daughter and a few from my sister and brother. And some of them are my letters written to my parents. I don’t remember how I got those back, but I love them. They show our family history at that point in time.

While driving back to Idaho recently, a man on NPR was talking about the lost art of writing letters. He talked about the connection people feel when they hold a hand-written letter in their hands. It’s like people touch across distance and time. With electronic messages, no one touches it unless you print it out and then, it’s only you who touches it.

The letters I kept are handwritten which means that the paper I am touching, the sender touched too. Maybe some of their DNA remains and it’s like touching their hands. Their penmanship is familiar and tells a lot about them. My heart warms to read the words they took the time to write and send to me. I treasure them all. What more meaningful thing can we leave our friends and family than a hand-written note that they can reread anytime? My children may toss out all of these letters after I’m gone, but I feel pretty sure they will at least read them. Maybe they even keep a few. Reading them will provide a peek into the past.

I challenge all of you to write a letter to someone. Give someone a surprise in the mailbox. You don’t have to be a poet or a writer or have fancy penmanship. Just be sincere. That simple action will make someone’s day. The note might find its way into a box of special things and be there for them after you’re gone. Those are the best heirlooms.

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