Discover Challenge: For Posterity

The Daily Post, Discover Challenge says: This week, share a post about something that’s about to disappear — but worth remembering. What would you save for posterity? Help us remember something hard to find, easy to miss, or about to go extinct.

The older I get the less I seem to care about saving things “for posterity.” I have no children, no one to leave things to, to share what was maybe at one time important to me, or some heirloom I inherited. Something that has gone missing from our world today is letter writing. I write letters to all my nieces when they go away to summer camp, and am still thrilled to receive their letters in return. I have saved many of them- for posterity? To show them someday when they are grown up, for them to laugh perhaps at what they were thinking at the age of 12.

I grew up in a time where we learned penmanship and practiced writing everyday in school. I can remember my 4th grade teacher making us draw slanted ovals- they slanted to the right, over and over and over. That was the warm up before we got down to the business of forming all those letters in the alphabet. My handwriting did develop into something quite pretty to look at, always legible, each letter formed nicely, both capitals and lower case.

As a child, I corresponded with my Grandmother in the months between when I would see her. I received letters from her in her old fashioned script handwriting.  I remember the thrill of receiving mail, a letter especially for me in there among the bills and junk mail-how special it made me feel. Her letters were filled with what she and my grandfather were up to, a sense of humor coming through that I don’t remember noticing when spending time with her. Her voice in her letters allowing her a freedom that perhaps she didn’t feel when face to face with someone.

Email is a wonderful way to communicate, typing less cumbersome than handwriting, but there is something about putting pen to paper, to feeling the pen glide as the words from your brain come out through your hand onto the sheet. Is it more heartfelt? Maybe that is the feeling I get when I am writing by hand. It is truly a part of me I am sharing through that pen to paper.

I have saved the letters my grandmother wrote to me, a part of her still with me though she has been gone since 1975. Had we corresponded in email I most likely would have lost her words in the 2 computer crashes I had with no back up at the time. I set to cleaning out old things that clutter my shelves and take up space, but those letters have always remained, will always remain. I take them out every now and then to read, remembering my Grandmother, smiling at the thought of her, so glad to still have this tangible piece of her. For posterity.

grandmaletter

19 thoughts on “Discover Challenge: For Posterity

  1. I have letters from every member of my family except one uncle. I keep them like you, since there is a continuing story going on, many subjects I may have forgotten about by now. This is a beautiful post with true warmth from your writing “voice” displayed, Lisa. I hope your niece’s appreciate your handwritten letters someday. ❤

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  2. Sadly, I don’t think they even are required to teach handwriting past third or fourth grade. I write letters to my grandchildren but I’ve often wonder if they’ll be able to read it when the time comes. Very sad.

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  3. If it makes you feel any better (but it probably won’t), I doubt my son or granddaughter are going to have any particular interest in anything I wrote or my photographs. By the time I’m gone, they will have their own stuff filling their lives. My husband is working through figuring out what to do with the stuff his parents left and much of it, no one wants. It’s not lack of love . It’s more like “lack of room.”

    I have no handwriting left. I make even MORE typos writing than typing. I wrote better when I was 10 than I do today!

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    • Thanks for sharing that Marilyn- glad it is not just me! We all do have too much stuff. I was very sentimental years ago, but now just hold onto a few select things that remind me of someone who is gone, the rest- I no longer care what happens to it! My writing suffered from “lack of writing” years ago when I did nothing but type- but working in the classroom has gotten me back into it and it has come back again!

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  4. My girlfriends and I used to write to one another over summer vacation. Just as you say–it was such a thrill to have a letter addressed just to me. You are right–there is just something about pen to paper, but then that is also how I feel about books and magazines. No Kindle or Nook for me, thank you very much!

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  5. 20 years ago my flirting with girls I was interested in would take the form of sending and receiving cards and letters with actual photos of each other. No texting and Snapchatting then. I miss those times. 😁

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  6. I miss it too, I miss the joy I felt when I got a letter from friends or family. I never just opened it and read it on the way to the house. No, I had a ritual. I made me a cup of tea, sat down and then I finally opened the letter. Many ended up in my books as bookmarks. I miss Christmascards and postcards too. Emails are convinient, but they are not special.

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