Emma and Morgan, my twin granddaughters (though they look nothing alike: Emma is almost a head taller at 7 and has her mom's Asian black hair while Morgan had the brown hair of my son, her father) can both read now. They read well. Tegan, the baby (though 'babies' aren't 4!) doesn't read yet but will, having two sisters who read, read early.
So I decided to write them letters. I always loved getting letters. When I was in college and Bern (the girl's paternal grandmother) was still in high school, we probably wrote every day if not more. Letters, in the day before email and blogs, were the most exciting way to communicate, bar none.
Letters are one of the victims of the technology and it is a great loss. The beauty of getting a letter is you know it was written several days before. The beauty of writing a letter is you know it won't be read until it passes through many hands of members of the postal service. I'm a big one for 'delayed gratification'--the waiting is half the fun.
I think I'll do this every other week or so--write the girls a letter, knowing they won't read it until a few days from when I write it.
It was a simple letter I wrote--about what I was doing today, about how cold it was, about looking forward to Thanksgiving when they'll be with us, about a book I'm reading which has a main character who is a bookseller of antique books, about how Jack, who will be here at Thanksgiving, used to be a bookseller and if I wanted an old book I'd still ask him to find it, about how much I love them. Simple stuff like that.
I regret that I typed it, but a second victim of technology is hand-writing. I do it so little now that I can't even read the notes I write to myself about something not to forget or the lists I make for groceries! So, the girls will have to get letters typed on my computer and printed on my printer--but at least the letters will travel by truck and be touched by a whole host of strangers. I like that, how so called 'snail mail' is touched by people you'll never meet whose purpose it is to get the letter from you to the names on the envelope.
I like that. That's much more akin to the 'community' I love than to the 'online community' we all settle for most of the time.
(I know up in the attic is a box full of letters I wrote to Bern when we were apart. Someday, when she's out, I may go up and read some of them to get in touch with the young man I was some 4 and more decades ago, head over heels in love with her...as I still am...but I suspect that younger me was more poetic and lustful than I am now. Bern and I have a prose love--a long narrative--today. And though the sight of her is one of the things that gives my life meaning and often makes my heart beat faster...she is so lovely and we have been together so long...and yet that much is still true. Being a guy, I didn't keep her letters. More the pity, since those would be the letters I'd really like to read here in my dotage...the love letters of a beautiful young woman to me....)
Perhaps it is my ache that my granddaughters will grow up in a 'letter-less' world that has inspired me to begin writing letters to them.
Writing letters...even on a keyboard...still hold sway over me....
I should thank them in my next letter, for giving me a reason to write letters again....
I'll ponder that.
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