Monday, June 22, 2009

Write when you get work !!!!

June 22, 2009

Yesterday was Fathers Day and as is usual for our family at any event, we often end the day in the dining room or living room practicing the strange tradition of...talking. One of the topics we landed on was the decline in real communication in this era of cell phones, emails, Blackberries, texting, voice mail and yes even BLOGS. We vented about our feelings in regards to being cut off mid sentence when the person you are speaking to face to face , suddenly decides to abort the conversation in order to answer his Clamshell, his obnoxious call waiting signal , or even worse... to begin a texting war that includes you not.

When I was a teen, it was not unusual for me to have a fight with my folks and then threaten to run away. Did my parents beg and plead with me to stay ? Did they warn me of the dangers in the outside world and remind me of their unending love and support available only in the bosom of their home ? Naaaa. They said, "Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out !"

Face to face communication. They key to strong family relationships.

We also lamented (well my kids mentioned it, I was the "lamenting" one), the loss of real letters. The little treasures we used to find in our mailboxes . Both my parents were excellent letter writers. My mother would fill several pages with news of breaking down cars, trials at work, home repair nightmares. Day to day stuff. My fathers' letters often covered the same topics but in a completely different way. First of all his envelopes were covered with his artwork. Maybe done with marker, or chalk or crayon. Whatever he had available and in reach of the kitchen table. He would sketch little trains and cars shuttling mail across the country, Postmen looking for my mailbox in jungles or other rough terrain. His letters were equally colorful. He made fun of his daily financial struggles, the eejits he had to deal with and he spoke with great affection for my siblings. My brother may have lost his temper the night before and thrown a chair across the room chipping the Mother Mary statue one more time, but in my fathers letter he would say, "your brother really lit up the house last night with his antics !"

When our oldest son was in the Navy, and especially when he was out on the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Pacific Ocean, writing letters was the means of sanity retention for this mamma. From MY kitchen table, all the way out across miles and miles of water and then into his hands were feelings that could never have been well expressed with abbreviations like MUSM and 459 4EAE. When he was able to write back, my heart would leap at the site of the return address when I first glanced it in our rural mailbox. Somedays I would riiiiiiiiip it open on the spot and read it standing right in the middle of the road. Other days I would take time to make some fresh coffee savoring the letter and the hot beverage at the same time.

My favorite letter writer is a woman in her 80's. Mom R. When I was 19 and way troubled, she invited me to live with her and her family. I stayed for 3 months. I left her Northern Illinois home in the middle of the night and hitchhiked to SD . Within days of arriving she sent the first letter. I wrote back. Then she, then I. THIRTY-ONE YEARS LATER we are still writing. Several times a year. She has 8 children, multiple grandchildren, multiple multiple great grandchildren and yet she finds time to write to me.

So, gather up your cartridge pens, find a little paper and get to work. Write a letter to someone you love today. Don't forget the stamp and the wax seal with your initials on the back flap.


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