Yesterday afternoon I decided to bring the box from Mom’s closet downstairs and go through it. I had found some letters before but didn’t have time to go through item by item.
There were Christmas crafts we did when we were kids. Paper plate Santas. A scarecrow, Easter Bunnies and a witch to be put up as decorations on a window. I found a box of Christmas crackers that I’m pretty sure are older than me as the box was labelled 1971. But it’s good for a laugh.
The real treasures were finding letters from my Grandma to my Mom. They went to England in May 1971. They stayed at a hotel near Buckingham Palace and could watch the changing of the guard. She mentioned how they had to get up early to catch a bus to get to their next destination. My Grandpa’s sister must have gone with them and my Grandma wrote she was “very congenial”. Oh my goodness this made me laugh out loud as she was a very stern woman. Grandpa and her didn’t really get along. Oh they loved each other and would do anything for one another but they were both very stubborn. She was always late and it drove my Grandpa nuts. As I read the letter I could hear my Grandma through it. It reminded me of when they would go to Florida and they would always take pictures of us to put on their dresser. The maids would usually exclaim “oh are these your grand kids”. It was like we were there with them.
There was a letter to Mom from her Aunt Emma. Mom loved this Aunt a whole lot. Mom used to tell me that she should have been married with a bunch of kids but her family didn’t approve of her fiance so they broke it off. He moved away and wasn’t able to return the ring so when she died Mom got it. I always thought that was so sad. She was in a nursing home at the time of this letter but she had a way of writing it that made it sound busy. She wrote about the fog lifting, about the food, the lovely couple that lived across the hall. It was four pages (although it was like journal size paper) but by the end I couldn’t make out what it said too well.
I also found a post card and letter from my Dad’s sister when they were living in Beirut. All of these letters were 1971 or 72. I think the postcard was written by my Uncle, it was very formal. Talked about the architecture and political unrest (that hasn’t changed). Hers talked about his nieces visiting and that they would be in Nova Scotia in the summer. I was telling my Aunt last night that I knew what year it was by the address. She was surprised “but you weren’t born yet”. No, but Mom told me stories. I knew they boarded with a family friend when they were first married to save money. They lived in a tiny apartment across from the church that was “cold in the winter and hot in the summer”.
As I was reading through these I thought how people of my generation would never have these gifts. There is something about sitting down to read a note that someone took the time to write to you. I could read the love that they had for each other through the pages. That doesn’t happen in an email.