Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Lost Art of Writing Letters

A few letters I have received over the last 48 years
Now that the Age of the Internet is upon us, we must kiss goodbye the old vestiges of the envelopes marked "First Class" or "Par Avion". As I peruse over these ancient forms of communication, I must bestow a few excerpts that have captured my eye. Here is a letter from my Grandfather living in Alexandria Virginia in 1969: " Your cousin in Texas had a letter from the US Naval Academy and another from West Point asking him to go to their schools. But the military schools require one to serve 5 years after graduation but that would interfere with his playing professional football which might make him rich". My cousin graduated and went on to play football with the Washington Redskins from 1974-1981 #59 Middle Linebacker. Another letter from Grandpa in 1964 he writes: "Tell your daddy to write me - I hear he has changed his business again. I am worried by the thought of the long drive he has to make when the snow and ice comes, even if his car has the most modern tires and chains, yes even with a safety belt - That is a long drive to make every day. Enclosed is a check for all of your sisters and brother. Get your mama to cash it and give each of you a dollar. Write again soon - Lots of Love and Kisses to you all -Grandpa." From a Chess Friend in England on a Christmas Card: "Happy Christmas Jim -Cheers,Mike" A thank-you letter from a chess prodigy: " It is extremely nice for somebody like you to take the time and expense to help my cause. I am positive that the books you donated will provide enjoyment and learning for the ones who are not as fortunate as we are. You simply cannot imagine how precious your contribution is. Sincerely yours -K. K. Karanja May 28 1988"  Letter from a friend who had recently moved: " The scrambled eggs here are prepared by steaming which kills all taste and texture like eating some kind of yellow plastic and other such gastronomic monstrosities. We must get all the old shoes from around the USA and pretend they are roast beef." Letter from Uncle Jerry dated June 6 1979: "I've been busy trying to get the boat ready to put back in the water. It's been one thing after another but I finally took her on a Shakedown to South River. She runs well and except for a loose window everything seems ok." Hand written letter from Hit Parader Magazine dated November 1980: "Thanks for your letter to Hit Parader. We hope you saw the Judas Priest feature in the last issue. Keep on the look-out for the next issue of HP - there's a Molly Hatchet story coming and more on Judas Priest in the Hit Parader Annual Issue. Just stay with us and we'll try to feature as many Heavy Metal artists as possible. Sincerely Yours, Shelton Ivany -Editor" Letter from my brother Brad stationed in Rota Spain in the Navy dated Jan 11 1977: "My little spanish car is driving me crazy. It seems like everytime I turn around, something is going wrong with it. If I never see another 'Seat' again when I leave here, it wont break my heart."  The Seat is a Spanish Car pronounced "Say-At" http://www.seat-cars.co.za/  Another except from a letter Brad wrote on Sept 3, 2005: "We have already started packing our bags for the Philippines. Marina plans on using every allowable pound."  On June 25, 1986 Brad writes: "Jackie Gleason died last night and Fred Astair the night before. It makes you realize how old you are getting when people you've watched and heard about all your life are dying. A few years from now there will be kids who won't remember their names." Here is a little quip from my brother dated March 4, 1983: " If your Pinto makes it one more year I think you will have gotten more than your money's worth." Letter from Momio Jan 27, 1983: "Winter paid us a visit last week and transformed the meadow and trees beyond into a crystal palace. Every tree, branch, twig and blade of grass was encased in a sheath of ice that refracted the light like a thousand mirrors." Letter from Momio dated Sept 1, 1987: "Did you see the new lake wall out front of the house? They covered over our hand prints we made in the cement, yours and mine and wiped out the date. I was so sad to see it go. So much for posterity." I think we put our hand prints in that lakewall around 1975 during a patch up job. Letter from Momio dated Sept 24, 1982, she writes: " If you were to ask me what I miss about Michigan this time of year I would have to say the ducks and geese on Gilletts Lake. The birds down here in Georgia have been strangely quiet of late. I suppose that's because the birds of summer have left and the birds of winter haven't arrived yet. However, the birds that stay thorugh the year - the mockingbirds, thrashers, and towhees are not as raucous as usual. Perhaps there are too many cats in the area. Like Rome, we are infested with cats." Here is an insightful take on Momio's political vision: "Looks like things are warming up in Central America. Here we go again. The agony of unacceptable alternatives. They say Duarte is a moderate but I doubt he has the stamina to be a leader. Reagan says he wants to negotiate with the Russians but from a position of strength, hence the arms build-up. Fiddle - dee - dee, you don't know who to believe anymore. I think Haig is inept. He was a good general and that's where they should have left him, as a commander in the field. He certainly is no statesman. Too bad they don't have Kissinger in there. A lot of people don't like him because of his association with Nixon but when it came to foreign relations he was absolutely marvelous and he was particularly adept at negotiating." Letter from Daddio dated Dec 4, 1981: " James, remember when Mama used to take you all to the Toyhouse the day after Thanksgiving and you would come home and tell me all about the trains and race cars you saw."

1 comment:

  1. Great post!
    I wrote one similar to that a while back - - so very true.
    I keep a journal and will copy & paste certain e-mails that have "something to say" into a journal entry. In that way I am saving some of my family history as it is being made, so to speak.