Friday, February 1, 2013

Wonderful, fun, personal mail

Starting right after Thanksgiving, I check the mail with anticipation every single day.  Who will we get Christmas cards from today?  Will there be a letter and photos enclosed?

I love personal mail.

Wonderful, fun, personal mail.

But, I don't mail much of anything.

Postage is expensive...but is it worth the little added expense and effort to drop a real letter in the mail as opposed to the quick text or email message?

Recently I've caught myself wishing that my mom had kept a diary.

This morning I dragged boxes out of the basement in search of 15 year old letters and photos from my grandmother.  I never found the specific ones I was looking for.

I did, however, find years of cards and letters from other family and friends when I lived in Florida.  This was before cell phones; back when long distance phone calls cost 15 cents per minute.  A sheet of paper, an envelope and postage cost less than a 5 minute phone call.  So, we wrote.

As a keeper of all things sentimental, I have all of these letters neatly tied together in stacks by year.  With pretty ribbon, of course.

The letters from my mom are in a stack of their own.  I started with them.  I remember having read them in my 20's.  Many of the lines I recalled verbatim.  However, all these years later, I read them with an entirely fresh and more mature perspective.  I didn't always hear what she was trying to say when I was hurt and angry...and barely over 21.  Today I did.  One letter in particular - six pages typed - is totally a diary.  She very openly and vulnerably shares her heart.  I wish I'd understood all those years ago what she was saying...  I'm ever so grateful that I do now.  So very grateful to have her heart in writing...many letters over.  Grateful to hear her voice, her laughter, even her mild swearing with every written word.  (Oh, hell, Tonya...)  She makes me smile.

As I wiped the tears from my eyes, I considered taking some Motrin but headed back to the box of cards and letters instead.  I read for hours.  There are so many letters.  I can recognize the senders by their handwriting.  I love their handwriting.

I came across a note that my brother Jim sent me in 2001.  It is on a scratch piece of paper and was enclosed with a package.  It is not a real letter, and is only a couple of sentences long.  I hugged it.

Yea, I'm cheesy that way.

Dawn and Marci wrote me a lot when I lived in Florida.  I can hear their sarcasm and laughter in their letters.  And their stories - and all the memories - bring wide smiles to my face.  Dawn and Marci frequently doodled or stamped something on their notes.  I'm sure I hardly noticed it then, but the added illustrations make me smile now...remembering how young we were.

Aimee must have written me every other week!  I can hear her excitement and squeals with every triple-underlined word.  Aimee knew how to live.  I cannot think about her without my heart breaking a little all over again, so I'm especially grateful to have all of those crazy letters...and postcards from vacation.  As if I needed to know that she was scuba diving in Hawaii as I was laboring away at work.

Who's idea were postcards anyway?  Obnoxious for the sad recipients who aren't vacationing...but, thank you.

My sister Shanna wrote me also.  One of my favorite letters is about her first pregnancy.  Swollen feet, baby kicking...  I had no clue, as I was still 7 years away from becoming a mother myself.  But, she's sweet, and young, and excited and you can hear it all in that letter.

And there was a precious letter handwritten by my 90+ year old great grandmother.  Wow.

Much to my surprise, there were dozens of love letters and cards from Bryan back when we were dating and newly married.  As the years have passed, we've grown comfortable and it has evidently slipped our minds to woo each other like we used to.  Or, perhaps it's simply a matter of time.  Has the time we used to spend browsing card aisles been absorbed by our kids?  Probably so; however, rereading these cards and letters reminds me of just how important it is to keep wooing my man.

Today's stroll down memory lane was a wonderful one.  I've decided that you definitely don't get the same effect with a text message or an email.  Despite how ridiculously expensive postage is these days, I'm going to write letters again here and there.

And... I'll look for mail from you on occasion.

I love personal mail.

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