Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I have been reminded in the last week or so of the value of correspondence-- thank-you notes to heirlooms:
  • David is graduating from high school, and I'm nagging in advance to keep him on top of the thank-you notes he needs to write for all the generous gifts he is getting. Writing a good thank-you note is a sign that one has successfully arrived at adulthood, I think.
  • My folks brought us a bunch of furniture and mementos last week, as they're downsizing, and among the items was a note I wrote my grandmother when I was David's age--mentioning two old boyfriends. With so many years behind me, and yet a different man my husband for the last 22 years, I can be pleased and amused at these old references, and this snapshot of my teenage self.
  • My mom carefully packed many family items for us to have here in our own home, and with them she wrote a lot of notes about their history. I will keep these notes for passing things on further in the future, to our own children.
  • My father-in-law lost my mother-in-law three years ago, and as I was cleaning in preparation for his arrival for our graduation party, I came across a stack of condolence cards our local friends sent us at the time. I sat my father-in-law down with them, so he could see that those who didn't even know her participated in our grief at the time. I think it meant a lot to him to look through those "strange" cards.
  • College-age-daughter Abby started a new job yesterday, and at the end of her shift she found a card in her locker, from her manager: "Abigail, Great job on your first day. You really hit the ground running! Keep up the great work! I can tell you will be a perfect fit here at Ann Taylor!" What a great ending to a first day of work!
  • To wind up with David again, we gave him a family heirloom for graduation--a gold pocket watch from my maternal grandfather's family, from over 100 years ago. I had to ask about the people represented by the initials inside, but that little correspondence has a story, too, conveying the relationship, the gift, the connection with us so long after: "C.C. to P.C." Those were David's great-great-grandparents, and I know very little about them. I think they died before I was born. But their little correspondence endures in a gold pocket watch this young man is now carrying in his own pocket.

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