Does Anyone Write Letters Anymore?
Or is it really a lost art? Do we even write letters anymore? Maybe a card was sent with a signature, but what about pages and pages of letters? Is it a lost art? I think it may be. As you know, I love to write, but I never write letters to anyone anymore. I send emails. I even send e-cards. At Christmas, I dash off my signature or a quick note. Am I in such a hurry that I cannot take the time to write? I know of one person that loves our Quilling Cards and she takes the time each week to send a few to her friends and family. I think that is so special and I think it is time for me to start sending letters too.
Key West And My Aunt Judy
I spent time in Key West, Florida, last week, helping go through my Aunt Judy’s home, which needed to be cleaned out of over a century of memories. Judy passed away last Spring, and now her home and estate are in the process of being sold. I was amazed at how organized she was. A place for everything and a folder, drawer, or box for everyone. Each was labeled in a way we knew at a glance what we would find when we opened it up.
Judy or Judith Gaddis, as she was known in Key West and to many others, moved there in the late 70s and lived in a beautiful old home in the historic area of Key West. Judy was my father’s sister. I never knew this side of my family that well. I met Judy when I was around 13 years old, and we always kept in touch. The sad thing is that while we talked all the time on the phone, I never took the time to fly down to Key West to visit her. I flew down to help go through her belongings, deciding what to keep and what to throw out—seeing all her treasures that would now be sold off. So many beautiful pieces of art. I am sure much of her jewelry was that of my grandmother and great-grandmothers.
So Many Memories
If you have ever had to go in and clean out a home of a loved one, I am sure you understand where I am coming from today. How do you decide just what to keep and what to toss? Of course, old bills went right to the recycling box, but when I came to the albums and all of her precious memories of her love of France and her love of a man named Duke, I was just not sure what to do. And photo’s, I wish I knew who some of these people were.
Hat Boxes and Love Letters
Then came the hat boxes. Two very old falling apart hat boxes filled with letters. Letters from Judy to her mother, my grandmother. Letters from my grandmother to her mother, my great-grandmother. Love letters to and from my step-grandfather. Some dated as far back as 1902. Even a leather postcard from Yellowstone dated 1905. All the family information I never knew about might be in these letters. After talking to my new friend Lynn and Judy’s good friend and executor of her estate, we decided just to put it all in a big box and mail it to my home. I was concerned with all the decay and silverfish but figured I could keep it all out in the garage.
Today as I am writing this, the first of 2 boxes showed up. Beautiful love letters from Judy’s boyfriends were included, each tied up in a ribbon. I skimmed one and thought to myself how sweet these young men were in what they wrote. These were of a different time, I guess. Such charming letters that Judy kept all these years. No, I cannot just toss them out. Somehow I will figure something out to do with them. But more interesting were the letters from my grandmother to her mother. And those of her father’s to his family back in Greece. A good winter project. Plus, all the empty envelopes with the stamps.
There even was a letter from the American Playwright Tennessee Williams to my grandmother Ariadne or, as we called her, Paz. He apologized to her for using her name in his play, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. He assured her he would take out all future mention of her name. My grandmother wrote a few books, one of which was from her childhood home in St. Louis, MO, called The Octagonal Heart. I guess she did not want her name in his plays. I need to look further into that.
Time To Toss A Few Things Of Mine
While I have loved seeing all these letters, at the same time, I was very sad to know I was also throwing out so many memories of a beautiful woman that led such an extraordinary life. As I sorted so much, pulling some to send to the remaining family members. Knowing I could not keep all the photographs, I used my camera on my phone to take as many pictures as I could. I am still going through my grandmother Rose Behnke’s photos. I also promised myself to come home and TOSS out all my journals and do some more major decluttering. Do I need to keep 43 years of checkbooks and tax returns? No need for my grandkids having to make that decision. Some things are private, and at this time in my life, I have decided they can stay private.