What Do You Keep, What Do you Throw Away?
By Our Anonymous Man On The Fence
Recently I opened up my box of letters that I keep in a very safe place. Do you have a box of old letters or cards that you still keep? It’s quite fun to reflect back upon your life through this particular lens. From the time I was a little boy, till now, I have kept many precious documents intact. There’s something to be said for keeping letters. I wonder sometimes if my kids will yearn to keep my letters that I write them. I sometimes doubt they’ll see the value in keeping such historical family objects.
Last week while sitting on my bed going through these pieces of history, I found several letters from girlfriends, special friends, and even one (there was sadly only one!) from my dad. But what is rather interesting, is the incredible varying writing styles. Surely you can spot the difference between a “love letter“ and a letter from your grandmother. Her writing was probably heavily scripted, and required true skill to read the individual words. My mother’s penmanship was different than my grandmother’s. My mom’s style was very unique and very beautiful in a special way. I love re-reading my mother’s letters. She really knew how to capture a moment, and rereading them instantly brings me back to in time. Wow, how times they have changed.
I even kept letters from my great-grandmother with her incredible writing style! What is really surprising, is even though she was Polish, with a thick European accent, her letters couldn’t have sounded more modern. She must have been eighty two years old when she wrote these to me and I tear up with joy knowing that I still have these treasures.
I always wondered why I kept certain ones, and discarded the others. What was my deciding factor in choosing if one belonged in the “keep” pile, or “throw away” pile. What’s most interesting is I kept virtually EVERY card from the very first love of my life, my ex wife. I read these cards often to this day. I’m nostalgic when reflecting upon these times. I think back to how we laughed, we cried and how we were head over heels in love with one another. That kind of love is so difficult to replicate. That feeling…oh that feeling! What I think is even more fascinating, is that my children can also look back at these letters and see a wonderful time in our family life. They can see where we started, who I was and why I am how I am. Whether it was a Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day or birthday card, there is so much more in each letter than simply the good wishes that go along with it. They can learn of life, love and happiness through these special letters. We were a loving family of five all living under one roof for many years, and it makes me smile to see that I still have something documented of those wonderful times.
I also treasure my cards and letters specifically from my children. I find them so fascinating. Do you ever look back at some of the cards your own kids have made for you? I hate the fact now that I resort to making use of electronic letters to my kids in camp. I did mail two handwritten letters to the kids and got a mouthful of questions as to why I sent handwritten letters. When I responded that I wanted them to know what my hand writing actually looked like, they then had a good appreciation for having received them. After that reaction, I concluded it would be sufficient to print and keep both my EMAILED letters to the kids, and theirs to me. We’re building memories, and I feel a need to keep them documented. Now my children will remember their childhood camp days in glowing terms. Imagine when they show their own kids these precious moments of their childhood. While it’s great to reminisce and talk about old times, actually collecting these memories and freezing them, is also pretty cool!
So why write a Blog post about keeping letters, you may ask? Because I think it’s important, and I urge you all to do so. After you read this, please write your spouse or your children a letter or card. It doesn’t have to be long. Catch up, write it from your heart, give it to them, and have them write you one back. Then put them in a safe place. By doing so, you’re keeping a precious memory or moment in time alive forever. Trust me, in thirty years when you still have these letters, you’ll be grateful you do. The wealth of who we really are, are all in these letters….
So touching! Ladies tell us, do you keep old cards and letters from boyfriends, or parents, or a spouse or your children? Do you think keeping them are a waste of time, or are they treasured memories to be documented? Will you write your loved ones a letter now?
I will be heading on vacation for the next two weeks. I will be checking in!
Have a great weekend everyone.