Wednesday, October 21, 2009
A Box of Letters
My grandma is full of surprises. Often those surprises come in the form of crass and hilarious words, such as the time my grandpa was accosted by a young prostitute on the street when he was walking his Swiss Mountain dog. When he came home with a phone number, my grandma called it and left this voicemail: "Listen up, you whore b*tch! Can't you leave an old man alone when he's walking his dog?" She threatened police action.
Did I mention my grandma is eighty-three?
Other times, she is full of generous surprises and produces rare family gems. One day last year, she got into one of her give-it-all-away modes and told me to follow her upstairs. In her weaving room where she keeps her loom and wool, she pulled open a drawer in one of her antique wood dressers and pulled out the beautiful, dilapidated box you see in the photo above.
I absolutely love the photo on the box, which is more a shredded pile of dusty cardboard than anything. What was inside, however, blew my mind. How could she have absentmindedly kept this secret from me for so long?
She pulled out a copious stack of letters and envelopes dating back to the early 1900s, and said, "They belonged to my mother. Take 'em." She acted as though she were giving me a few bucks for lunch, but I could tell the letters were important to her by her smile and the way she cackled telling me about them. "These are great!" she said.
Of course they are. They are pieces of her mother's heart, a mother who died well before her time.
And she gave them to me.
I have since scanned the letters and am in the process of retyping them. I never want them to be lost, and I want to share them with you because they are history and about love, a universal theme with which I have much (failed) experience.
It seems trouble in love runs in the family. You'll see.
The Grammar Nazi