08 January 2008

Miss Spell, miss you, missives

Well, except for slipping in a few last pages of forms and printing the cover sheet, it would appear that I am finally done with my first draft of the ward history I've been so hard at work on. Aaaaahh. Aaaaaahhhhhh. Oh, wow.

I also finished another transcript tonight for WGBH in Boston. I got a transcription foot pedal in the post yesterday, all the way from Honolulu, and this cool tool is certainly speeding me up. But only from a trot to a canter, mind you. This is not super-quick work for me. I did great in my typing classes in high school, but . . . well, that's just it, isn't it? Typing, not keyboarding, or whatever it's called now. I'm old school. And a rather rusty old school at that.

Never mind it. Nobody's timing me, thankfully. I just send the pieces in as I finish them. Liz, the transcription coordinator passed along a message that the fellas who run the show would appreciate feedback and responses to their work, so this time I thought I'd give it more than a half-line of commentary. This is what I wrote. (Will this do for a blog post tonight?) (And just so you know, I am really missing my blog-reading lately. I feel terribly out of the loop. It's a durn good thing I have Google Reader, or I'd be sunk when I can get back to playing catch-up. Just know I miss having enough time to visit your spots, and I will darken your cyber doorsteps again. Really!)
I'm glad I transcribed "I Got Her Back." Letters, the real ones which have been touched and folded, stamped and sent by human hands, are precious things to me. I am one who saves important letters. I'll even print out emails that strike me as having lasting emotional value, just so I can beat the ephemeral system and have something tangible to hold and keep. I shake my fist at all other sorts of paper piles (please say you deal with them too), but letters? They need never apologize for the space they require. They are my precious things.

I have letters from my mother, a big binder full of them. She died in 1994. When I read her letters, I can hear her voice talking to me. I remember. I have only a few letters from my father. He's gone too. His letters are more painful for me to read, and yet I do pull them out now and then, when I'm lonely for him and feeling strong enough.

One of my most treasured possessions is a small wooden "magic box" my husband made for me several years ago and gave to me with a promise that it would magically produce a letter for me at least one time every month. I write to my husband on about the same schedule as well, and we have by now two large collections of not only sweet love letters and notes, but also poems, deep thoughts, jokes, and even a few well-placed apologies to show for our seventeen-plus years together. We always did write letters to each other, even before the advent of the magic box. While decluttering our basement recently I came across a box of our early communications, from our courtship days to our newly-married ones and beyond into times that were very difficult and very wonderful, by turns.

Occasionally I will take a mental inventory of my most cherished belongings and ask myself, If something happened, some disaster that drove me from my home, apart from safeguarding my family members, what would I be most concerned about saving? Hands down, it would be my letters. My letters and my magic box.

If we are ever blessed with children, I want them to have our letters. I want them to come to know their mother and father better by reading and touching hand-written, ink-smudged, and occasionally misspelled love. I want them to know the grandparents they'll never meet, and how can they do that, how else can they learn to recognize those voices, if not by reading and re-reading the few words they left behind? And along with all of this wanting I also want my children to get acquainted with pens and paper and to discover the secrets of the magic box for themselves.

4 comments:

Lucky Red Hen said...

I wish I wrote letters that would have true meaning.

Am'n2deep said...

I love letters! My husband and I 'dated' (if you could call it that in the beginning--we were only 14 and 15 years old), for 7 years, and have now been married for nearly 15. We have boxes of letters from our teens, and boxes of audio cassettes and letters from his mission, but not nearly enough letters written in the here and now. I don't want my children to miss out on this part, because it is the best so far. What I'm trying to say, is that is a fantastically beautiful idea that your husband had!

On that same note, my aunt has a whole box of letters written by my grandparents to each other while they were courting. She has never read them because she somehow feels she is invading their privacy. Fooey, I say!! These two people were some of the dearest and most influential people of my life. I WILL find a way to get my hands on those letters! Mark my words!

Geo said...

LUCKY. WHAT! EVER! Honey, all's ya got to do is pick up a pen and some paper and write some love.

AM'N. You've got a treasure trove too! You two can keep adding to it for the rest of your lives. Your children will thank you forever for it.

I'm with you about your grandparents' letters. If you leave this earth wthout burning up the stuff you don't want anybody reading, it's fair (and wonderful) game! I hope you get them!

Nigel said...

"misspelled love" would be a great title for a painting...