Sunday, March 7, 2010

Letters of Friendship Letters of Love

I spent a goodly portion of a recent Saturday, going through old letters. As I have mentioned before, my dh and I have pretty much held on to most of the letters we have ever received from friends and family and each other. In addition, not too long ago my dh's mother gave him a bag with all the letters he wrote to HER during his college years.

That adds up to a HUGE stack of letters. Hundreds I'm sure.

One of the boxes of letters had been sitting in my closet for a few years and I got to thinking "do we really need to hold onto this FOREVER?"

Evidenced by the fact that the letters have been in our possession forever, these were important and special letters from important (to us) and special people, during the 1980's and 1990's primarily (before the time of everyone having email).

But we have a small house with little storage space.

My dh agreed that it was time to part with many missives.

There was no way I could read every single letter before I decided to keep or pitch - but glancing at something, if it was basically a post card or "thank you" letter, it went into the discard pile. I tried to keep a sampling of letters from regular writers for each year and some writers had all their letters saved (I won't say whose - that way everyone can just assume it was all their letters we kept rather than pitched).

It was interesting, fun, sometimes sad, and in some cases enlightening, to re-read those letters...

We did hold on to enough of the letters (I hope) to give a sampling of our family/friend histories , as well as all the letters my dh and I wrote to each other.

As the letters sat for days in a trash bag in the laundry room - I had second thoughts. Did I really want to pitch them? What benefit was there in keeping them? Future blackmail opportunities? Email letters from the same folks today are not all being printed out and saved. When I'm 98 years old and bedridden (due to a broken leg mind you, from skiing) - would I pull out those dusty letters and enjoy reading them? Probably. But I guess I'll have to amuse myself with only reading 500 hundred letters rather than 1000. Not everything can be kept for every possible necessity - including memories.

I'm saddened over the end of letters written on beautiful stationery and posted in the mail. I'm part of that problem. It's so much easier and quicker to send someone an email. And the important part is not the mode of communication - it's the fact that we take the time to communicate in the first place, right?


Anonymous said...

I did keep a few cards, etc. but agree that they take up too much precious room. Why don't you put the ones you want to keep in a photo album?


Anonymous said...

Rhonda made a good suggestion!


CanadianGrandma said...

There is no way that I would keep all those letters. Rhonda makes sense.

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