Friday, October 15, 2010


I bit off more than I could chew today, counting out 122 letters to work through over the course of the afternoon. Given the right conditions I know it’s possible, but I found myself up against a series of letters written in faded fountain pen on blue airmail paper. In the late afternoon sun I slowed right down, from time to time getting caught up in the way the light passed through the vellum. Still, 71 isn’t bad. I’ve saved the hardest ones ( those written in the ‘50s) for a fresh start tomorrow.

Among my favorites today, were a boy’s postcard to his aunt and uncle, reporting his camp’s rental of “2 TVs for the moon shot” and a thank you note to caterers  in which a groom’s friends allegedly “commented that they wanted to go into the woods and throw up so they could come back and eat some more.”

I was also drawn in by three separate series of letters written in the ‘60s and ‘70’s, by  women juggling the needs of young families, while fending off the loneliness of living abroad. Even the rich descriptions of travel, new experiences, and the privilege of expat life couldn’t hide an undercurrent of sadness.

In contrast is today’s letter of the day: a delightful multi- coloured letter from a young girl to a university age woman who I took to be a former sitter or neighbour. In it Anniebananie inquires what the young woman wants to be when she grow’s up, pleads for her to write and crafts a tongue twisting tale. Signed with 12 hearts and 68 x’s and o’s, it remains pretty clear to me that this letter belongs with the other love letters!      

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