The Letter

My mother used to write the most beautiful letters.  They were handwritten, well thought out, and in beautiful penmanship.  A millennial would probably say, what’s penmanship?  Why bother?  You can text or better yet, no words, Instagram!

Muriel (if you have been reading our blog, you would know!) won awards for her beautiful cursive writing.  Me, not so much.  I’m a lefty and write like a doctor (if only I had gone to medical school!). She wrote letters to her boyfriends, caught my father’s attention with love letters that made me blush (when I went into her drawers and furtively read them!), and congratulated friends on their anniversaries, birthdays, marriage of a child, birth of a child, etc!  When my mother-in-law passed away, she wrote the most beautiful letter to her husband, my father-in-law. She expressed her grief and disappointment in not really getting to know her new daughter-in-law, married less than 3 years earlier.

Letters are a thing of the past, sadly because they hold a person’s most private thoughts in a way that a text or email cannot. They can disappear with the stroke of the “delete” key. Whether on heavy stock paper with a monogram (this is what Muriel used) with ball point or ink, they beckon us to read them over and over again.  I have put many of them in my drawers to be discovered unexpectedly as I rifle through underwear.  Once I find one, I sit down and read it again.  A tear may come to my eyes, a smile, a look of fondness and love. They are never to be duplicated again and they do not carry any acronyms: LOL, LMAO, WTF, IDK,  OMG, etc.  Everything is spelled out in full.  T’s are crossed, i’s are dotted, strong messages underlined.

“Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.” Yehuda Berg

‘Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”  Mother Teresa

‘To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart” Phyllis Theroux

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”- the Bible

I  am of the generation who kept in touch by letter.  I kept my college roommates apprised of my newly married life, my parents, my old friends, and family members.  It took time to write, to compose, to add humor, funny stories.  When you read my letters it was like being in the room with me.  I wrote run on sentences, as I do today and called it my stream of consciousness writing. I loved receiving them in the mail and I hope mine were met with the same enthusiasm as the ones I received.

They are my mementos of a life filled with friendship that I worked very hard to maintain through a lifetime of new jobs and new addresses.

Take the time to pick up the phone, write a real letter on paper and mail it with a stamp, go ring someone’s doorbell to say hello.

We are all busy, even those of us in retirement, so it means that much more when we take the time to connect as human beings.

Today’s Takeaway…

.Write a letter, the old fashioned kind on paper with a ball point pen.  I’m sure you have one somewhere! It will mean more than you know to the person on the receiving end.

. Never underestimate the power of the spoken or written word.  Keep your mind active by writing down your thoughts, whether in a personal journal, blog, or diary.  You will be glad you did.  They will make you smile when you need it most and keep your memories alive when you may have forgotten.

Enjoy the ride

Barclay and Joy

x0x

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAMILY

Whether you call it mishpachah, famiglia, familia, famille, or my peeps, these are the folks you are bound to by blood.  There are memories, secrets, feuds, warmth, feelings, as well as DNA that binds one family member to another.  They are not people we choose, but who by marriage, birth, remarriage, or adoption are part of our life on happy occasions and sad.

Yesterday, was such a day in my family. We all came together to say goodbye to my uncle Morton, my mother’s only sibling.  Muriel  (if you have been reading our blog http://www.revisionistretirement.com you know she was my mother) passed away almost 28 years ago, far too soon, at only 71 yrs old.  (looks super young to me now!) Her brother outlived her to a ripe old age of 94 1/2.  He lived longer than anyone in our family by far and he lived a good life, a happy one.

His daughter FranLisa, my cousin handled his funeral calmly, with composure, and grace.  She read a few paragraphs she had prepared to the small gathering of family and smiled through tears about the man she knew and loved.  The word “kindness” was repeated many times.  He said good morning to people he met at his assisted living facility, folks in the hospital  or  people that needed a smile in the dining room.  He was married to my aunt for 57 years and he worked until he was 74.  He died peacefully truly from old age not from disease or accident , though he had fallen recently and just wasn’t interested in going through physical therapy for the 3rd time.  (I get it)

As I looked around the group gathered in front of our family mausoleum (room for 3    more!) I felt a sense of belonging and connection.  My own daughter stood next to me as well as my husband. I stood next to my cousin and put my arm around her feeling close and touched by her strength in putting her dad to rest.

The service was followed by a lovely lunch at a waterfront restaurant in Westchester, surrounded by people that loved my uncle.  A cousin made the 3 hour drive with his daughter (aided by 2 canes) to recount stories of the old days.  They made me smile and they made him happy to tell them. (and tell them and tell them)

The ties that bind a family should be reinforced, cultivated, nurtured.  The Thanksgiving meal (that everyone in my family always complained about going to) is still the ritual we will remember for many years to come. Soak it in, relish it; for the family that we have in our presence today won’t be here forever, but the emotions we shared will.

Today’s Takeaway…

. Love your family, cherish them, even the crazy aunt that blurts out obscenities or the black sheep of the family that did too many drugs in the 70’s!  They are your flesh and blood and you share a unique history.

Enjoy the ride

xox Barclay and Joy

 

 

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