The Letter Writing Revolution

Revitalizing a Lost Art One Letter at a Time

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Letters As Time Capsules

If you're new to this Blog, please read the very first post to understand what The Letter Writing Revolution is all about:

As my siblings and I get older, my mother is slowly sorting through old photographs, letters, ancient art projects and other paraphenelia from our youth. She figures we may as well have it back to pass onto our own children or do with it what we may. As far as she is concerned, she wants this excess out of her house. No sense keeping boxes of papers, letters and photographs from 20+ years ago.

As she purges, many handwritten letters surface. Some are filled with laughter and some with sadness.  There's the letter written when I was 16 years old when one of our cats came home with fleas. The fleas were attracted to me for some reason and so I was getting bitten daily. They weren't biting anyone else in the family and so there wasn't a lot of rush in getting the problem dealt with. Finally, I had enough and I wrote a letter to my parents stating that I would be moving in with my friend, Jessie, until the flea infestation was dealt with. I didn't stop there. I made sure that my parents were aware that I knew that the cat was obviously far more important than their daughter. Don't you love how dramatic teenagers can be!
Rebel Without a Cause.......circa 1987
There's a letter I wrote to my dad around the same time when he and my mom separated. I was 16 years old then and I reassured him that I loved him and that although I didn't understand why they were splitting up, I wasn't angry at them. Actually, when I think back, I was very angry but maybe in the moment of writing that letter I had achieved some level of peace. I also told him not to worry....I would look after "the kids" (my younger brother and sister) and our mom. Such maturity for someone so young.

Another letter written to my dad was a "love letter" of sorts in celebration of Father's Day. I was living in Whistler, British Columbia and I suppose being far away freed me up to express all that was in my heart. I had forgotten about this letter until my mom handed it to me over lunch a few days ago. At first I cringed as sometimes reading the words that were written when you thought you had figured everything out with the world can be rather embarrassing. I decided to read it anyway and was pleasantly surprised that I had shared so many personal thoughts with my dad. So many things that often go unsaid until it is too late. I was 24 years old when I wrote that particular letter and for a moment, I traveled back in time and recalled the young woman I was........the future still waiting to unfold.

I have a large collection of letters that I wrote and that my mother has returned to me. I hesitate to dig in and read them all for fear that they might reveal a part of myself that I have purposely chosen to deny or forget about. Then again, I may be reminded of the person that quietly resides within waiting for an opportunity to come forward and shine. The part of me that has had to take a back seat while I tend to the demands of my daily life. For now, the letters sit in a bag waiting to transport me to another time and place in my life whenever the urge strikes.


  1. Just catching up after being away camping. Love the time capsule theme and every once in a while, I dig through some letters I received through the years from family and friends when I lived away from home. So interesting and moving to be brought back in time.
    p.s. Love that pic of you...xo

  2. Must find out how you did that you have a scanner? Can't wait to get my bag of letters from mom!

  3. Check out those crazy leopard shoes,even then you loved crazy shoes.I loved you then and I love you now,mommy


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