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1. Introduction

5 Feb 2012

In the days before email or facebook or text messages, my parents, who were not my parents yet, wrote letters to each other. My father wrote around 300 letters to my mother in the years between 1946-1951 while he was in the Marines.  He wrote almost every day and apologized for not writing often enough.  She wrote him back just as often, but none of her letters to him survive.  After Dad died in 2000 my mother wanted me to take his letters and “Do something with them.”  DO, what?

I think I knew the letters existed most of my life.  I had read bits and pieces over the years even when dad was alive.  I remember asking what he did with her letters and he mumbled something about a lost duffle bag.  Maybe, he didn’t really remember.  Or maybe he just didn’t want to admit he had lost them or thrown them out.  But why, not?  Who really keeps three hundred letters anyway?  My mother did.  When I inherited them, they were still in the envelopes, bundled chronologically, and tied with pink silk ribbons They had been that way for 50 years.

Emotionally, I was unable to read them for a few years after he died because his death was so sudden, and so awful.  He had struggled with Parkinson’s disease for more than twenty years, yet it wasn’t the disease that killed him.  It was a teenage driver on an icy road, on Christmas night.  Dad was trying to cross the street, fell, and was struck by the oncoming van.

Starting on the week of his funeral until about three years later, mom was persistent about my taking the letters, and “doing something with them”.  I did finally take them and put them in acid free sleeves, start to number and transcribe them.  But I’m still struggling with what the end product will be.  This blog is part of my process.

I originally started this in February of 2012, pledging to write at least 250 words each day.  Well, I’ve been a bit of a slacker in the writing department, but I have gotten back to numbering, organizing and cataloging them again.  And several months later, I’m back to writing again.  Eventually,  I hope to have the beginnings of a book.

Pink ribbons

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