Thursday, July 8, 2010


I recently received a letter in return from O, to whom I wrote a few weeks ago. (An aside ... his was the letter I feared I'd gone overboard with; turns out he not only tolerated the letter but thought enough of it to write back.)

Noting that he hadn't received--or sent--a letter in a very long time, O thanked me for mine. He then related a story that convinces me more than ever that I'm on the right track with this project. O related how he and a cousin were cleaning out the condominium of his recently deceased aunt when they ran across a stash of letters that O's mother had sent to her sister.

They were a hoot! We just giggled like kids at mom's odd silly view of things ... But while we were going through all these old letters and photos, we wondered if the same would be possible, or likely, in an age of electronic mail and images and password-protected computer files and delete buttons. And corrupted files. Probably so. People always figure out a way to dig up the past.

He could be right. Perhaps people will find a way to just as easily, or maybe even more easily, unearth a digital past as they do a paper one. And maybe my belief that digging through an old box of letters--with their handwriting and smells and yellowing, postmarked envelopes--gives you more a sense of connection to the owner than going through their hard drive makes me sentimental.

I'm OK with that.

Right now I plan to write just one letter to each person in THE LETTER JAR, so there likely won't be any stashes of letters from me for my recipients' relatives to sift through (or giggle at). But maybe someone's nephew or granddaughter or little brother will discover my one letter, and find a little extra comfort in the affirmation that their loved one was smart, funny, hardworking or brave.

I'll tuck O's letter, and the dozen or so others I've received during this project, into a box for my son to discover someday, maybe even while mommy is still around. I've often thought about how much I look forward to sharing with him the lessons I'm learning on this journey--well, perhaps the proof is in the paper.

STICKING IT TO US AGAIN: The U.S. Postal Service is proposing another 2-cent hike in first-class postage, to 46 cents as of next Jan. 2. This after a 2-cent increase in May 2009. "The Postal Service's plans to hike rates so substantially … may well produce a death spiral of fewer customers and ever declining volume," said Maine Senator Susan Collins. Want to try to stamp out this fire? 
Contact the Postal Regulatory Commission.


The Missive Maven said...

I would personally much rather pay 2 more cents for a first class stamp than lose Saturday mail delivery, which is also a very real possibility.

I believe we still have one of the most affordable and reliable methods of mail delivery in the world, and I hesitate to malign our postal service which brings such joy to my life.

L, The Jar Keeper said...

You make a very good point. Our mail service is affordable and reliable, something that many people in this world do not enjoy. And "enjoy" is an operative word--you are right to note that the postal service brings joy to both our worlds as letter writers.

Thanks so much for weighing in and giving me food for thought.