Monday, March 30 2020 - 6:19 AM
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Hallmark Moments

After three years of dithering complacency, I have decided to clean my home office. That means sorting lots of papers, files, books, etc. Yesterday I dove into the mess and pulled out a big plastic tub that hadn’t been touched in 18 years. Inside was the collection of cards and letters dating from my school years to present. Wow, what a trip down memory lane. This will undoubtedly slow my goals for reorganization.

I’m amazed at the correspondence between so many people long before the days of email or Facebook: a complete collection of elementary school valentines; my graduation cards from high school, college and graduate school, besides a few wedding cards; welcoming and goodbye cards from my places of employment; several college letters from my New Zealand penpal; photographs taken for photojournalism assignments; lots of mushy, gushy cards that I made for my future husband–I was such a romantic; the loneliness in my grandmother’s notes (I wish I had called her more often); the resulting thankfulness from two people that I had introduced to each other; plus sweet and funny homemade cards from my children.

Many of the cards are very pretty. I’m saving the old classic valentines for the grandkids to sort through. Just viewing the names on those cards brings back images of childhood classmates. The handwriting of various people reminds me of their personalities. I hate to throw out anything with my parents’ handwriting since they are now gone. Longhand is such an intimate way to express oneself. It’s regrettable that longhand is no longer emphasized or graded as a skill in much of elementary education.

I feel guilty eliminating cards from my husband or children. I’m trying to mostly save the letters and some cards from my close relatives. This is a difficult process for the sentimental. When I’m much older and not very mobile, I plan to sit and enjoy reading the handwritten words of long-gone relatives and friends. I am so thankful for all the people who have loved me and took the time to write to me.

I have decided that each week I should write a letter to friends and family. It is so special to get envelopes in the physical mailbox besides advertisements and bills. I’ll probably write the letters with word processing but use my own signature or add a short handwritten note. Meanwhile, on to more discoveries and the next big plastic tub in the closet.

Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:

1. What were the customs in your family for the giving of cards or letters?

2. Try writing a letter of encouragement to yourself at an earlier age, perhaps as a high school student, as a first-time parent, or during a period of unemployment.

Karen Spruill writes from Orlando, Florida.

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About Karen Spruill

Karen Spruill

writes from Orlando, Florida.

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