Thursday, January 25, 2007

Letters

As I was trying to get some organizing done today, I came across a box of letters. What kind of letters? All kinds . . . letters, notes, cards, memos, messages, etc. Pretty much anything anyone has written me is in my letter box. For some reason I have kept almost all the letters I've been sent or given in my life. This isn't the only box of letters I have--I couldn't fit them all in one box-- but no matter where I've gone I have always found it comforting to have a box of these letters with me. I would say I have thrown out only a small percentage of letters I've received over the years (I've gotten better about being more selective these days), but chances are if you've sent me a letter, I have it. Depending on who you are, that could be good or bad. I have letters from junior high friends, high school pals, old boy friends, moms of old boy friends, current friends, college friends, a note from my high school counselor about my college application, notes from roommates, birthday cards, lots from my mom, my grandparents, my husband, EFY, people I don't remember anymore . . . everyone. Also, because of my propensity to save letters I also save emails as well. I have hundreds (maybe thousands) of emails saved or archived somewhere. (The exception to this would be business emails and emails from the early internet years because I didn't know how/where to save them). I guess I look at it like a journal of my life written from the perspective of those around me. I also like the idea that one day, when I'm old and grey, I could read through these letters (maybe even compile some books of letters) and sort of have a rough sketch of my life . . . look back at all the people I've known, who I've kept in contact with, whose life I've touched and who has touched mine. Does anyone else out there save letters? Do you save them to this extent? Why? Do you wish you saved more letters? Are you glad you don't? Just curious. . .

4 comments:

  1. I have boxes and boxes of letters Amy. Boxes and Boxes. I have a goal to try to put them all into some kind of "happy book" and I have even bought the book, but the task is so overwhelming! I think I have decided to just not even care about chronology and just start filing them in....

    I am such a pack rat.

    I don't know how to archive emails. Wish I would have known that a few years ago. Can you give me some quick instructions? Do you just save them in a word type place or what?

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  2. I used to keep them all, but then I pruned and pruned. I have a few that are important to me, but everything else goes. I just can't keep them all. Call it the recovering pack rat syndrome: if I start keeping all the letters, I may start keeping everything else again too. Like an alcoholic ;)

    However, as a historian, can I just say that it's because of people like YOU that we actually have primary source information about certain times and places. It will be valuable to you and to others some day. It kind of reminds me of A Midwife's Tale (if you remember that book.)

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  3. Tiff--so glad to hear it. Yeah a happy book. . . that's a good idea. As far as archiving emails, when I worked and had a lot of emails stored in Outlook I would archive them. . . then when I quit and didn't have access anymore, I forwarded them in mass to my gmail account and have saved them there. There's a ton of storage and of course it's free. I think about printing some of those off and also compiling a book of sorts. . .

    Azucar--I'll have to check out a midwives tale. . .

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  4. i used to have every note ever, then i became a clutter hater. so now i only have really sentimental, important ones. or ones where people tell me they think i'm awesome for a little self esteem boost. my mom's family kept a ton of my grandpa's letters and wartime records, etc. and things and compiled them in a book. it's really cool. if i was that interesting, i'd keep more stuff for posterity.

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