Monday, September 26, 2005

The letter is in the Mail

Saturday I received a letter from my Mother. I was so thrilled that I was ripping the envelope open even before I had returned to the house. My Mother is part of the last generation of letter writers. She learned the art from her Mother who holds the esteemed title of The Greatest Letter Writer that ever lived. Her mother dutifully wrote letters to all the realitives she left behind when she and her husband immigrated to America.

My Aunt, Mom's sister, is a tremendous letter writer also. She arises at 5am each day and begins her letter writing, as is her custom as was her mothers. I receive notes on a regular basis from Aunt Maura. They are generally informative chatty two page affairs keeping me abreast of all the going on's with my cousins and their families.

I love those notes.

There is something so intimate and joyful about knowing that someone took the time to jot down a few lines, hunt down my address (I have had 20 different addresses in as many years), find a stamp and place the letter in the mail. Those sending the letters have little notion at the pleasure that accompanies them on their journey.

I remember when I first left home and began my first attempt at college. I traveled 250 miles west to attend Murray State University. I felt at that time that I wanted as far away from my parents as possible! (strict Roman Catholics). The mail boxes for my dormitory were located in Hart Hall. Everyday around mid day I would make the trek to the boxes. They covered three walls, were made of brass, had two tiny knobs for the combination, and a tiny glass window.

To see something in that box always made my day. It usually was a letter from my Mom, a letter from one of my friends I left behind, or the home town weekly newspaper. The bouts of loneliness and homesickness an 18 year old child away from home for the first time could be pushed aside for awhile at mid day.

It is because of those memories that I make an extreme effort to send Bridget a card each week for the past year and a half since she has moved to Louisville. If I skip a week, she lets me know. It is amazing how much the simple act of a card with an "I love you and I miss you" means. Yet I know. That is why I do it.

I called my Mom yesterday and told her how much I appreciated the note. I told her how I recalled anticipating her letters while at Murray and how I would run to the mail box with hope that I would be receiving that little bit of home. I told her how much I loved it and looked forward to it and how her letter brought back those memories.

"Oh Mary, don't forget I put $12 in those letters too!"

That woman remembers way too much!

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