Working through a box of letters and photos. It's a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale cardboard box stuffed to the folding flaps with letters written in Bic on lined notebook paper or unlined stationery, in pencil on day-glow colors, in circles with op art PaperMate pens. There are fountain pen scrawls with enclosed bizarre newspaper clippings, lengthy complaints about the difficulties of finding a substitute for Wednesday night bridge club, and rants about poor sportsmanship of certain pro golfers. Envelopes with the stamp corners torn off.
Hello muddah, hello faddah letters from camp. Letters from friends made at arts camp.
Baby weights from sleep-deprived new moms. Grandma letters addressed to little boys. Microscopic printing from basic training and from Israel archaeology digs. Spiritual crises and enchilada recipes. Tiny apartment floorplans. Letters typed in pica on onion skin. A bit of mail art from a college instructor into rubber stamping. Belated greetings with long-forgotten in-jokes.
My first pen pals were my [great] Auntie Em and my Camp Fire Girl friend Margy Garner who moved away to Lake Oswego, Oregon in 1966. I am stunned to find evidence that Margy and I corresponded about our English class reading assignments until 1971. Dickinson beat Thoreau.
Auntie Em's letters told small tales of life in a very tiny town where a seven year old might cross the gravel street and knock on your door at midnight if he couldn't sleep. Auntie Em might have a piece of blueberry pie left over for the little insomniac.
Another box holds letters between my dad and his mother during WWII. A third bundle has letters when my parents were dating. So, to be continued!
|The "walking cane letters" demonstrated by Auntie Em.|