Why do people keep their old love letters, breakup letters, heartbreaking letters…? Heck if I know. To be honest, I didn’t realize I was one of those letter-saving people until tonight.
Anita and I were doing our weekly box opening, when we found a box of a variety of personal treasures. I found Lee’s first novel. I found some cards from my children. I found this box, all sealed up.
I did not recognize it. It was just a box. Anita said it was a treasure, so I came to look. I opened it and thought, huh, letters. They must be from my mom and grandmother, because no one ever wrote me.
Oh, yes they did!
Holy crap. Every love-struck young man of my wild and crazy late teens and early twenties apparently wrote me, and often. I’m guessing I wrote back. There were letters begging me to like them, letters breaking up with me, letters telling me what a horrible girlfriend I’d been (and he was right).
Well, now I remember a whole lot of pretty embarrassing and unflattering stuff I’d come to peace over, learned hard lessons from, and had sort of blocked out. Oh, men and boys of my youth, I was sincere but confused. I’m sorry. I’d love to buy you all a beverage and hear you out.
The one I loved the most has already most eloquently explained the bad stuff I did, and I hope all is forgiven, since we’re both happy now.
Then there are the ladies
I also found many, many letters from woman friends I didn’t realize had written me so much. There was Susan, an early grad school housemate. She wrote one funny letter!
Then there was Liz, who faithfully wrote me from Japan, Gainesville, and everywhere she moved. I totally forgot how many letters we wrote! She was such a great storyteller. Still is. Look at this one:
I laughed and laughed, then read a serious letter behind the funny one. What a good friend.
Seems so long ago
I’m now surprised that I forgot what a big role letter writing played in my life and how honest we were ON PAPER. Some of my correspondents would cringe as much as I did if they saw their letters. Do they have mine? I hope not! Yeesh!
I think all the letters just stopped once we got email. And once we got Facebook we can instantly communicate. But letters were nice. You could touch them and easily recognize handwriting and get all excited.
It’s good the 80s are gone. I’m glad I’m not so hormonal and horny. But the letters won’t let me forget.
Hmm. I’m putting those, and also all the journals I found in a very safe place, maybe a nicer box. Then maybe I can forget about them for another 30 years!