Friday, November 7, 2014

Letters Home

My mother passed away from metastatic breast cancer in 2002. My father was understandably overwhelmed, so it fell to my sister and I to clean out my mother's things. This was heart-wrenching and incredibly sad, but there were also moments of remembrance and even happiness. One of those moments was when I found all the letters I had written to my mother during my years away at college, lovingly saved. I couldn't read them for a long time, but eventually I came to see the letters as a wonderful gift my mother had given me. I could read and remember all the things my much-younger self was thinking about, asking them to send, worrying about (passing organic chemistry was a big one), and how I changed over those four years.

Here's a humble missive from my freshman year. An A in chemistry was news-worthy.

This postcard just makes me laugh. It would have taken at least 3 days for it to arrive and let my parents know I had gotten back to school safely, quite a bit different than waiting for an immediate text from my own kids when they drove back to school.

Still typing letters, but now worrying about Organic and disappointing my parents. I probably should have left out the sentence about napping and not feeling guilty.

Getting closer to being out in the real world, worrying about a $26.55 electric bill in my senior year. It's a good thing they sent me soap!
I'm glad I went to college in the golden (my kids would say olden!) days of letter writing.


  1. What great memories those letters must have brought back for you! I have letters I sent to my parents from camp and they crack me up.

  2. What a treasure, Bonny! Although my mom didn't save all of the letters from my college years, she saved enough of them to be a good representative sample. It's so fun (and funny!) to go back and re-read them now. I would imagine your batch of letters are especially poignant -- as there is so much . . . MORE . . . wrapped up in the reading of them. XOXO
    PS - I have some pretty desperate text messages from Brian during P-Chem. They're not quite the same. But I understand chemistry as a Newsworthy Event!

  3. how nice to have those letters! I have many letters tucked away in a big box in my closet but I haven't read them in years and I don't think I wrote them but received them from others. (my mom died of the same illness in 1998)

  4. I've only a few letters saved in life. In college I did the Wednesday call home from the payphone! I love the postcard saying you made it back! I do have a decent collection of Dan's camp letters though. Thanks for that look into your life back then. ;-)

  5. I wonder if my mom saved my letters home from college? I think I have hers somewhere. It was still too expensive to call long distance when I was in college in the early 90s - so much so that when my dorm room phone range that off-campus double ring at 10 pm on a Friday night, I knew something was wrong (my grandfather had died). I'm so glad you got to review these!

  6. My mom also saved letters I wrote when away from home. I treasure the little things I have in her handwriting. My greatest treasures are letters written to me on the occasion of my birth, one from my grandfather. Letters are (mostly) something the next generation will never enjoy...another thing lost to technology.

  7. Those are great! I love finding old letters and have a whole bunch of them. My husband was deployed in the Navy before email and we have our letters -- so fun to read!

  8. what a treasure trove! real mail still can't be beat. my mom saved every letter she received from each grandchild and compiled a book for their high school graduations. everyone - but especially the authors - had a great time looking through all that correspondence.


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