Sunday, January 27, 2013

~FOUR LETTERS~

Underneath the vintage four poster bed in our guest room sit two very large boxes.  Filled to the brim and overflowing you'll find all my treasured keepsakes and my tender-heart mementos crammed inside.  I don't know what it is about paper things ~ I just can't toss them out.  From as far back as I can remember I've saved almost every family letter I've ever received.  If a greeting card included a special note, well then, I saved those as well.

After thirty-four years of marriage you can imagine all the treasures tucked inside those boxes.  
 
One day my children will surely think me crazy for holding onto so much...
A few days ago I pulled out one of the boxes in search of something for an old high school friend.  While rummaging through the first box I came across four old letters written over thirty years ago and since I had nothing pressing to do I decided to sit down and open them up...

 The letters are tattered and worn and the paper has yellowed.  
The first one was from my Grandfather and dated May 1976.  
One was from my Mother dated November 1978.
One was from my Father dated May 1979.
The last one was from my Mr. AGPMan's Mother and it was sent in April 1978 a few months before we married.
 As I opened up the letter from my Grandfather I couldn't help but smile as I immediately recognized his loopy, artistic handwriting.  As a professional painter he had a flourish that was uniquely his own and I loved reading the precious words he penned just for me.  In 1976 he was 68 years old and was already showing the beginning signs of dementia.  Even so, he was clear minded enough to talk about my upcoming high school graduation and my future college plans.  He said I love you and I miss you and told me to BEHAVE...:)

By the time I finished reading his words I wanted to read them again...  My Grandpa's been gone over twenty years now...
The second letter I read was written by my Mother.  Mailed to me just after my hubby and I married, her handwriting is unmistakable.  She has beautiful penmanship and I would know her handwriting anywhere.

At the time her letter was written she was younger than I am today.  In 1978 she had just turned 44 years old and my two younger siblings were still at home (and two foster little girls, too).  Her words spoke of how much she missed me, how beautiful our wedding had been and how proud she was of Steve and I. 

My mother is now 78 years old and her written words mean even more to me today. 
The letter from my Father made me cry.  Written while pastoring a small church in Texas, he was only 49 back in 1979 and many years would pass before the monster would come to live inside his head.

My Dad's handwriting was always a bit scrunched up and certainly written in a style all his own.  He spoke of how he missed me and how I had grown up and left him far too soon...He shared a short prayer for Steve and I, mostly for our finances (we were seriously struggling with a broken down 1967 Chevy Impala).  He said his missed my guitar playing and singing and hoped to see me soon.  At the time I was only 19 and today I'm just beginning to understand how difficult it must have been for him allowing me to marry at such a young age...

For over ten years now my Father has lived in a local nursing home.  The letters stopped a couple of years before as he was no longer able to form sentences in his mind to write.

I miss him and his letters...
  
The last letter I read was from Steve's Mother.  I don't recall ever reading it before and I was taken aback by the clarity of her words.   It was written when she was only 48 years old...before Steve and I married, before we had babies, before she was a Gramma and long, long before Steve's Father became ill.

In her letter she spoke of her excitement over our upcoming wedding and how much she missed her second son...

Today my Momma-In-Love is almost 83 and struggles to write anymore...  I miss her funny words, and reading the stories of her life and her faith...

~~*~~

Letter writing is such a personal thing and the joys of a handwritten letter last more than a lifetime...  Electronic correspondence (or emailing) has replaced so much and I think it's such a sad thing when you actually think about it~

 I think it's time for me to pick up some paper, grab a pen and write some letters of my own...

Yeah...it's time.

~~*~~

Love to you.
Hope your day is wonderful.

17 comments:

Di said...

I love looking at my treasure box as well. I have sweet letters my family each sent when I was at a church retreat. Those mean so much and yes I miss my dear ones that have passed away. But those letters bring them a little closer. Di@cottage-wishes

Julie Marie at Idyllhours said...

What a beautiful heartfelt post Rebecca... it brought tears to my eyes... I love handwritten letters too... and yours are so beautiful... I save all of mine as well, and also my sister and I shared all of the letters my daddy wrote home from WWII and the ones my mama wrote back to him... they each saved them all... my daddy even though he was off fighting a war, kept all my mama's letters and they came home with him... computers are nice, but I so long for the days when a handwritten letter was sent or received... I am so happy you have all of those... they warm your heart... and your soul... much love, xoxo Julie Marie

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Rebecca,
You are exactly as I am doing; holding on to all those family letters. I have not gone back to read them no. Not had the time to do so. But I do treasure them as in handwriting there is so much revealed! A character can be unraveled from the handwriting itself and the words have so much meaning... Yes, the written word is powerful! Like the bible, the oldest writing we all still adhere to, it means so much in our lives.
Keep those wonderful sentiments. You might be able to sort them out and bundle them for the next generation... Hugs to you dear fiend.
Mariette

NanaDiana said...

I have so many old letters, too, Rebecca. I just can't seem to part with them...and cards- I save all the cards the kids have given me over the years....sweet...sweet memories. How wonderful that you came from a family of letter writers. It really is a lost art today- xo Diana

Theresa said...

I keep letters and cards too! I have been cleaning out around my house and realize I have SO many! Perhaps I should throw some out BUT it isn't gonna happen! I, like you, enjoy reading back thru them and remembering the times when they were written! Have a blessed day dear Rebecca, HUGS!

Susan said...

Rebecca, it is so good to see you blogging again!! I think I have every card I ever received.

Melissa Bishop said...

What a great post, Rebecca. I also love letters which is why started doing the A Month of Letters event in February. I am looking forward to writing to the ladies who send their addresses to me.

Lisa said...

It's sad to think that letter writing is a lost art. An email just does not compare to holding a letter in your hands, written by someone you love. Beautiful post!

Diane said...

I've missed you Rebecca, glad you are back and feeling better. You always have such beautiful inspiring posts. I too love reminiscing over old letters, cards and pictures. Have a great day! Diane

Desires of the Heart said...

What a beautiful post, I too love the letters I have saved. We recently cleaned out my mother's home after she went to be with the Father this last summer. We read and read and she had saved everything. I kept some of the special ones from my grandmother and aunts and it was a beautiful time of remembering our childhoods through these handwritten lines. I so agree about all the correspondence today, it is just not the same at all. Glad to know your hands are doing so much better. Thanks for sharing the love. Blessings, Linda

Darlene said...

Yes, those letters are treasures and tell a lot of history one day to your children. I wish I had some letters. I do have many cards from holidays from my mother and sister and other relatives. One day I had so many in shoeboxes I was cleaning out the house and was going to throw them away. My daughter said not to and I am glad I didn't. Maybe one day my grandkids will be happy to look at them and read what was happening at that time. take care, Darlene

Pondside said...

That was a lovely post.
We've lost so much in our hurry to embrace email and cell phones. Your letter are precious.
Years ago my sister and I returned the letters we'd written to one another. I received a wonderful record of my children's stages of life and of my younger self.
I can't believe I'm not following your blog - off to remedy that.

Suzann said...

Hello Rebecca...glad to see you are writing a post. I surely miss your wonderful and sweet posts.
It saddens me to see that people do not take the time to pen a short note to someone they love. Like you I treasure all letters that have been written to me and I still have kept the letters and notes written to me by my ex husband. I know my kids are going to think I am so silly saving those but I wanted them to see how much "in love" we were when their parents were young.
I hope you are healing well and I will look forward to reading your posts when you are feeling up to it.
Suzann ~xoxo~

Deb said...

I am the same way. I have saved letters and card for years and I often go back through them. They are such great memories and take me back as if I were reliving that era again. I also agree about the hand written letters. I started writing them again and the response has been great!

Bonnie Hitchcock said...

Oh how I love handwritten letters. I so wish I had kept all of mama's letters. I would have a trunk full. So sad now that I threw so many away. Oh, to turn back the hands of time and retrieve them. This was a beautiful heart felt post. Hope you will soon be back to your self again. We have a lot to catch up on.

Barb @ My Cottage On The Lake said...

Miss R.

Such a charming post. I am sad to say I don't write letters anymore...that is handwritten letters and cards. I do almost everything on the computer.

When my mother in law died, Ron and I found boxes and boxes of my handwritten letters and cards to her. She saved them all and I was astounded at the number of them.

This brought back many memories.

I pray you are getting stronger as each day passes.

Love,B

tibby said...

I do have all the letters I've ever received. Even the love letters I wrote to my exes. They didn't need them if they stopped loving me so I asked them to give them back to me.
Xoxo