Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Letters From Home

August, 1978
I was 18 years old and leaving home for my first year of college.

There were no computers, no facebook accounts, no e-mails, no cell phones.  I didn't even have a phone in my dorm room.  To call home I had to use a pay phone in the dorm lobby.

Back then most of my communication came in the form of a handwritten letter.
And it was a great day when I got a letter from home.

I kept all of the letters I received during my years at college.  They have been stored away in a bin with my other college memorabilia and pretty much forgotten for the past 30 years.

But this morning I went looking for them.

Why?

My son leaves for his first year of college tomorrow.  As we packed and prepared for his new adventure I got a little nostalgic for my days at school.

So I dug out the letters and I sat and read them for over an hour this morning.


Letters from my mother filling me in on all the latest happenings around town (one in particular had me smiling as my mother described how she was going to celebrate her big 50th birthday.....since I just celebrated my 50th this summer I really enjoyed reading this one).


Letters from my Grandma writing how she was coping after the death of my Grandpa.


Letters from high school friends who were experiencing college life at different schools around the country.

And letters from my younger sister....most of which were written during school hours when she should have been paying attention to her teachers.  Most of her letters described the latest party she attended, how late she had stayed out and the classes she ditched to go to the Dairy Queen.  I really loved rereading those letters and had to call her today to remind her what a "wild child" she was.

In the technological age we now live in I know most of the communication with my son will be via cell phone, facebook, text or e-mail.

But after holding my letters from home in my hands today and rereading what was going on in my family's life over 30 years ago, I think he just might be receiving some handwritten letters from home from me.


Who knows....maybe he'll be reading them to his kids 30 years from now.

I'm joining Kathleen @ Faded Charm for her popular White Wednesday party.  Please be sure and link back to Kathleen's blog to see what other wonderful whites are being shown today.

Jane


50 comments:

  1. What a lovely post. Letter writing has become a lost art. I remember living in the dorms and being so excited when I'd get any mail. We did have a phone in our room, but long distance was so expensive, we rarely used it. No computers, no cell phones, no email. Letters were truly a treat!

    It's lovely that you've kept them. Best of luck with your son going off to college. My oldest starts high school this year and I know the next four years are going to fly by.

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  2. You know I saved a bunch of my grandmother's letters from other women that had their sons in WWII. They would send hankies to each other and try to get one from each state. There is something very special about the handwritten word, not sure how to describe it!

    Take care, Sue

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  3. You were so smart to save them - they are treasures now!

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  4. This is so sweet. I love going back and reading old letters... love it!! Something to truly be treasured. :)

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  5. 15 cent stamps how sweet! Love old letters.

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  6. I have every letter I received from my "boyfriend" when I was 16 and he left to go to college at Auburn. Though we ended up going our separate ways, I still love to reread them and remember when life seemed so simple!

    I will be thinking of you tomorrow...

    Lou Cinda :)

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  7. Oh Jane, what a wonderful post. I loved it, and thank you for the trip down memory lane! I too only had a phone in the dorm hall. I remember sitting there talking to my mom and having her boost my spirits that first couple of weeks. I have just a couple of letters from my mom and my younger sisters.
    I have sent John care packages in the past, and he really liked getting them. Just little things, treats from home maybe a vintage tshirt from the goodwill or a garage sale find. What I learned when he went away was how to text! I wanted to be able to tell him good night without interfeering in his new life too much so we told eachother goodnight every night by texting. It was my way of being able to tell him I love him every night like I would have if he was home.
    Have a wonderful trip tomorrow. I'll be thinking of you! Take care, Theresa xo

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  8. Oh Jane! What a wonderful bundle you have there! And, you are making my sad. My second oldest daughter leaves tomorrow for college too. I send things/letters to my first daughter away and will now for both of them...but, not long letters with so much information! And, the siblings have never written and I'm pretty sure no Grandmas...what lovely memories. I will say a prayer for you as you leave your son. This is a hard time for so many.

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  9. Jane:
    How wonderful that you have those letters from your mom and grandma. I'm sure they bring you much joy to re-read them. I have letters my nanny (British grandmother) wrote to my mum in the years before she died. Miles and miles separated them, but their love is evident in every one of them. They mean the world to me.
    xoxo
    Donna

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  10. That's so sweet, Jane! I have some handwritten letters that I kept from when I was a kid that my Mom wrote to me when I went away one Summer and from my brother {mostly saying silly, little brother stuff}. I have them in my scrapbook with a bunch of other memories, but a letter is different from an email or a text, isn't it? These letters mean more to me than technological notes. Thankfully, I have a daughter and son who write sweet things on paper as well as keyboards, so I have those saved, too.

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  11. What a Treasure.... I'm sure you'll EnJoy reading for years~

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  12. Jane, I soooooo enjoyed reading this post. Hand written letters are true treasures! You were wise to have saved them all these years. I wish I'd done the same. Thanks for sharing this beautiful post! ~ Sarah

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  13. I think you should... write him letters!
    Great day to reread you treaures.

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  14. I love getting letters. I have a couple of penpals. I hope you will write your son :) It's neat that you saved yours and reread them anytime you like. Great memories.
    Love your vintage clock collection!
    Warmly,
    deb ;)

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  15. What a lovely post!!! I so much enjoyed reading it, such sweet memories.
    Love it a lot.
    Sweet Blessings,
    Virginia

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  16. That is so sweet. What a nice present to your future self to save the letters all these years. It also brought back memories for me too (even that stamp!). My dad continued to send me my allowance, $20 every two weeks, in a handwritten letter while I was in college. That doesn't sound like much now, but I could squeeze it pretty far back then, especially when it was dime taps night at the local watering hole. :)

    Best of luck to your son (and you) as he starts college!

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  17. Jane, how special that you held onto these letters. They are absolute treasures. I agree that you son would benefit from hand-written letters. My children also LOVE LOVED LOVED the weekly or semi-weekly boxes full of treats. I was constantly on a mission to find goodies to put in their boxes. It means so much to them. I hope he does well and really enjoys himself. As for you and your husband, it will be rough at first, but it's kind of nice after a while. You start to rediscover each other.

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  18. I totally agree with you Jane, facebook will fade and emails get deleted. The generations to come will have nothing to hold in their hands to show their kids. It is really sad when you think about the future. There are documents that are from our founding fathers in museums under glass for all to see. What is going to be in museums for our kids grandchildren to look at. Blackberries and something that says this is what we think was typed this day in 2010...
    Thanks for sharing how important it is to have true memories on paper to go back to.
    Smiles
    Amy

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  19. Hi Jane, how wonderful to see a post from you again and what a beautiful post it is. Absolutely fabulous that you have these precious letters to remind you of an important time in your life. It is very sad to think that this is a daying art. I hope that your son will appreciate your hand written notes of love that you will be sending his way. I know my kids think writing is torture and they don't even teach them cursive in school anymore. Teachers want everything in block print so that they don't have to try and decipher the writing. I worked for attorneys for 10 years and had to do a lot of deciphering when it came to handwriting. Even my boss now thinks he needs to read everything to me after he's written it and I keep telling him that I am quite good at figuring out quick, sloppy writing. HA! Hope all is well with you. Best wishes always, Tammy

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  20. Hi Jane, how wonderful to have such a keepsake. Sounds like stirring up those memories was fun. I didn't get to collage the wild child in me kept me from that. I am having a giveaway come by and see.

    Rebecca

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  21. Hi Jane, lovely nostalgic post! How clever of you to keep these letters that are now a treasure to you! Both your Mother and Grandmother have beautiful writing skills. Lovely!

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  22. What a beautiful post. I have saved treasures from the past and from time to time pull them out and reminiscence.

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  23. Oh this post hit home.....I LOVED writing and getting mail in college and am also getting ready to send #3 to college...it doesn't get easier! And I am getting ready to be 50....!

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  24. I kept a lot of my letter from my college days and pulled them out earlier this year. So fun to read and they brought to mind so many things that I had forgotten about. And I had many laughs from the ones from my friends at who were at other schools. Things sure are different now!

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  25. What a wonderful, thoughtful post today Jane! I am sure there are many kindred spirits feeling the same way around this time. In a few days my girl leaves for her senior year. I should be used to it by now but am feeling the tears building up. Where does the time go?!

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  26. Wonderful to keep them -you'll treasure them always-too bad we don't write letters anymore!

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  27. Fantastic post Jane! I was just thinking about your yesterday, wondering if your son was heading off to college soon! What timing in answering my unspoken question!
    Dee Dee

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  28. I enjoyed reading this as it also brought memories for me from my college years...my experience was similar, except I also had a black and white tv and a cassette player!! Weren't those days just great? I always tell my students that if I could go back in time, I would go back to my college days - - Good luck to your son, life will only get better for him!

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  29. How great to have saved all your letters from college and have the experience of reliving the day you received them. I have a letter I wrote my Daddy when I was in second grade that he carried in his billfold until the day he died.

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  30. Jane this is a beautiful post. I still write letters to a few gals. Yes we are in the electronic age, but it should not take the place of a letter written from the heart :-) Have a great weekend.

    Jocelyn
    http://justalittlesouthernhospitality.blogspot.com/

    p.s. my youngest will be starting college next week too, but he is commuting :-D

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  31. Love your post. Such wonderful memories you have with the letters.

    Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

    Hugs, Sharon

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  32. I loved this post Jane. How wise you were to keep these letters. I am a saver now but when I was younger, I didn't save things like letters and cards from my parents. They are both gone now and I wish I had more things in their own hand writing to cherish. If your son is not a saver, ask him to give you the letters to save for him...he'll appreciate it down the road!

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  33. Bless your heart, what a wonderful gift to yourself. Who would think 30 years later how much joy those letters would bring you.

    Every time I feel weepy or nostalgic about my kids growing up, out and on I just remind myself that they are wonderful kids and are doing just what I would want them to be doing.... moving into being successful,happy, accomplished adults. My eyes still fill with tears but in the end, I wouldn't want it any other way.

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  34. Jane, how wise of you to save them. Best wishes to your son and I know you will miss him. Have a great weekend. olive♥

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  35. What a beautiful post, Jane. Tears filled my eyes while reading this--just beautiful.

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  36. Hi, hope it's OK to contact you here. We would love to include your blog on our giveaway search engine: Giveaway Scout (http://www.giveawayscout.com). Have a look and if interested, use our online form to add your blog (http://www.giveawayscout.com/addblog/ ). thanks, Josh

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  37. Jane, this is such a sweet post. Isn't it fun to go back and reread those old letters and cards? Definitely send your son some handwritten love. It will mean a lot to him getting a real letter or care package when so far away from home. I wish him the best of luck at Ol' Miss.

    P.S. I love your opening photo of the postmark...just fantastic!

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  38. Wow, that is so neat, how wonderful that you kept them all!!! What a precious memory for you to have, I have one little note from my Mom and I feel blessed to have that!!!
    Love how you tied them up in the bundle! What a great white post for WW!
    Hugs,
    Margaret B

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  39. How sweet that you kept those sweet reminders of days gone by. I never saved anything like that. We have moved so often, I guess that was one thing that never made it.
    My Mom always made sure we wrote often to our grandparents and I did until they passed. I still have one Aunt who writes once in a while because she doesn't e-mail, but she does call often.
    You should write to your son. What a sweet reminder of home. Great post for White Wednesday. Some traditions need to be saved.

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  40. How special that you could go back and read "handwritten" letters. Great post!

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  41. What a beautiful post this is! You have inspired me to think about writing handwritten letters more and use the e-mail a little less. You can't tie those up with ribbon like you can a sweet letter.
    Good wishes to your son.
    hugs

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  42. Jane,
    How wonderful that you have saved these after all these years...I wish I had done the same! I hope your son has a great freshman year at college.

    Blessings,
    Linda

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  43. Loved that you shared this precious moment with us.
    I'm sure your son will treasure the letters he gets from you as well.
    xxx
    Carole
    ps...I just turned 50 too

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  44. What a great post! And what treasures you have in those old letters. I am getting pen and paper out now, to write a long overdue letter to a friend. Thank you.

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  45. Love it!!! As much as I love the instant gratification from cell phones, emails, etc. I do miss the anticipation of waiting for a letter from a loved one when far away from home.
    Kim

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  46. What precious memories!
    Sweet and bittersweet, how wonderful that you have all those letters saved.

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

    Hugs,
    Anne

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  47. Oh wow, that is an amazing post--so sweet and so true! When I went to college in 1972, I would just wait for Wednesday nights so I could talk to my mom on the phone...(We are lucky at least that we have cell phones these days because back then long distance was so expensive.) But, I still have postcards that my dad wrote me when I was 6 years old and he and my mom went to Europe...I have treasured those my whole life...so, I know exactly how you feel!!
    Hugs,
    Cindy
    xo

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  48. Hi Jane,

    How sweet that you kept those letters all these yrs. Must have been so fun to read them! Congrats to your son, and I wish him the best. My daughter starts this yr too! They grow so fast. Boo hoo!!

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  49. Oh Jane, what a treasure! I know each and every letter you son gets, he will treasure too. I think snail mail is important. Thanks for sharing such wonderful memories with us today.

    I am so pleased that I found your great blog.

    Nancy

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  50. That's great Jane and a wonderful idea and keepsake for your son.

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Thanks for stopping by. I really enjoy reading all of your comments!