Recently, my mother cleaned out her attic and literally dumped 5 crates into my garage, which contained sequined dance costumes, a dozen formal gowns and bridesmaid dresses and my precious First Communion vail. When I opened one of the crates I found an accordion storage file with multiple labels: school, finance, friends and family. I immediately scrambled to the file labeled “FAMILY,” hoping and longing to read the wise words I knew existed in the letters from my precious grandmother.
I pulled out a large handful of letters and my heart melted when I saw the return address: Suzy Finch—This was “Tuie”—my dad’s mother, a Catholic convert who worked as a nurse in a hospital with nuns and learned to love the Eucharist through these ladies’ example.
Each letter, I brought to my nose and smelled the faded paper, which had a scent consisting of cigarette smoke and age.
My eyes were full of tears because I knew what was in those letters—advice to a young, confused, emotional college girl who needed someone to hit her heart with the Truth, and she did just that—no sugar-coating or beating around the bush.
She would begin her letters with “Dearest Granddaughter” and end with “Be alert and God bless.” One letter was her response to when I called her upset that my fake tooth had fallen out while at college. Even her response to that situation was witty. I value these letters and in time, will re-read each one with a box of tissues.
Hand-written letters are a lost art.
We now text, email, select all and delete. Our conversations are lost in the matrix. I find that communication involving typing has lost the heart-felt component that I value in Tuie’s letters.
My challenge to you is to hand-write a letter—to your grandmother/daughter, spouse, dear friend or someone who has supported you through the years. I guarantee they will value this simple gesture of love.