be the same

Letter writing is pretty much a lost art. Long chatty letters were written home to your parents when you were at summer camp or away at University. Letters received in return from your Mom while you sat in the breakfast hall or at your dorm room desk could somehow magically ease any home-sickness you had been feeling..Letters you could tuck away and read over and over when you wanted to relive the details of events gone by. But we don’t write letters any more and in their absence much of our personal history is lost.

My friend came to Canada when she was 23. Her mother kept every letter sent home to Scotland. The letters are in files marked by the decades. Stacks and stacks of stories and memories are held on treasured thin sheets of air mail paper covered in elegant blue inked script. Imagine how many times her mother pulled out those letters to read over and over. Reading those letters brought her distant daughter home to her chair at the table. My friend now has all of those letters she sent to her Mom and fifty years later can read them.. There it is, her life  detailed in her own handwriting. It is a censored version because who tells their mother everything, but it is her life. What was important to my friend at the time chronicled by date for her mother to share.

When my children travelled the only connection I had to them was random postings on Facebook . A picture of one of my sons sitting on the step at the Louvre was all I had to know he was indeed alive.My other son went to Thailand. I know that because I saw the plane ticket. My daughter climbed Machu Pichu and swam with the sharks in the Galapagos.. Well she says she did and I saw a photo once to prove it… But I never got a written account from her and she never kept a journal… How will our children remember the stories of their adventures in fifty years?

The best thing I ever did (that might be an exaggeration) was to start a journal in 1999. I can recommend keeping a journal to all of you. It is therapeutic and an excellent habit to form. The physical act of sitting down at night to recap your day is calming. An entry might well be a vent about an erratic driver met on the highway or it might be a frustrated paragraph examining a curious relationship change but working it out on paper by putting the thoughts into words is therapeutic at best, at the very least seems to defuse anger..There will be the stories about the positives in your life too and they are worth recording.. You don’t want to forget that moment when you saw your first grandchild or the night you heard KD Lang sing Hallelujah..

You think no one will ever want to read about these days you are living but just think how interesting it would be now to read the thoughts of your grandparents as they lived the days they were given. Word to the wise.. If you do keep a journal remember one day many years from now your children or grand children might be reading it… careful what you say.

The art of letter writing is gone but a journal can help record the lost personal history.

This blog is now my personal journal.. Something about my history is now recorded much as it would have been if I had been writing letters to my children. But it will never      DSCN9916

be the same

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