Back in April, I wrote a post about letters from my grandma. It is with sorrow that I share that she passed away last month. When I went to her home, however, I found a final letter she had written to me, but had forgotten to send. I wrote more about it, and the wonder that was my grandmother, on my other blog, Rough Outlines:
I will treasure our letters for a lifetime, and still highly encourage everyone to start a handwritten correspondence with a family member. It’s the type of thing that can leave behind some true wonder and love when it is all said and done.
Since starting this project, my Mondays have received a whole bucketful more of cheer. This Monday, I’m seeing in triples.
This lovely tulip has an origin of Oregon, and an ability to remind me of the year Rho and I took that university by storm!
This one clearly came from a pal vacationing in both of our home states. I could tell the layout was conceived by a southern Californian since the Golden Gate is where the Redwoods should be! :/ My friend hinted at the mild love affair she got for southern California, just as I did when I last visited. This is a big thing for us northerners to admit.
Grandma, of course. I told you she was fast.
Some days, you leave work and feel like you were in meetings all day. Some days, you leave work, and realize that you literally were in meetings all day. When this happens to occur on a Monday — yikes — it can lead to a very sleepy being. Yesterday, this scenario was a portrait of me. Luckily, however, when I slothfully walked through my front door upon arriving home, I was met by not one, but two lovely handwritten notes! My exhaustion quickly turned to excitement.
The first was from a dear, dear friend currently exploring her soul and the beauty of the world, while doing service at a hospital in Germany. Overseas letters — now there is something that can really tickle my heart. That topic deserves a post of its own at a later date. For today’s post, I’d like to focus instead on the second letter I received. This letter was from my grandma.
Letters from my grandma always arrive on wonderful stationery adorned with pictures of painted flowers, birds, and butterflies. They’re always sealed tight with a delightful, matching sticker. There are many reasons why I love writing letters with my grandma. First, she is so darn prompt in sending her responses! It is really great. Second, it makes me feel close to her when in reality I feel so far away. I’m never sure when exactly I’ll get to make it back to see her, but when I write letters with her, I feel as if I’m right back in Napa, sitting on her couch in the mid-afternoon, watching Days of Our Lives and plotting our next moves once we win the lottery. Finally, I love writing letters with my grandma because of the loving, encouraging words and incredible nuggets of history that fill her pages.
I’ve started printing out my blog entries from Rough Outlines and mailing them to her. She’s really enjoyed them and it makes me feel more connected to her. With the last batch I mailed, I described to her how much I love to write and how neat it would be if someday I wrote something that people really, actually read. I also shared with her my doubts surrounding this dream — it felt good to get them out. The handwritten pieces of the alphabet that formed her response to this put a smile on my face and a renewed sense of purpose in my step. It is good to feel loved and supported.
Her kind words transitioned into an incredible nugget of history that I’ll hold onto for a long time. She described to me how growing up she had been a close and personal friend of Jack Kerouac. They were neighbors when she lived in Denver, and she would babysit his nephew, Paul Jr. Matter. Her mom (my great-grandma) used to go to the bars with Kerouac and his friends. My grandma became one of the characters in Kerouac’s 1957 novel, On the Road. I loved reading this history in my grandma’s penmanship, and now I’ll have this letter, this sliver of the family history, forever.
Mondays may sometimes be a rough start to the week, but they sure can take a swing towards wonderful when you have a little snapshot of someone’s heart waiting to greet you when you get home.
My project for you today is to pick a family member and start a handwritten correspondence with them. It’s not only a fun way of being better about keeping in touch, but it’s also the best way to start recording some of your family’s history for the generations to come.