Sunday, 10 June 2012

Return to Sender?

I started this six months ago - not much progress

I am at the point now where I am re-reading 35-years worth of letters from my oldest and dearest friends, and the more I relive the past and compare our parallel lives, marvelling at how much our paths have diverged and diversified since we were young, the more reluctant I am to throw a single one away.  I have made notes of significant events and dates so that fifty letters have been reduced in most cases, to two foolscap pages but I am no nearer to 'downsizing' my possessions with a view to moving house one day.  What to do?  I have thought of leaving each one's letters in bundles with their last-known address and asking my children to post them back when I have gone.  (How would you feel about getting such surprise mail?) One argument against this is that I would make you really sad as you would have to know that I had died.  My ever-practical children have unsentimentally pointed out that I should also remember that maybe they would have died before me so the exercise would be pointless.  So perhaps I should mail them all back now, having kept just one or two as examples of airmail letters and handwriting.  What do you think?

5 comments:

  1. Keep the letters. Look at the total volume of space they occupy. What, two or three books? Several shoe boxes? Find something else to throw out. There is something almost mystical about a letter. The overall value is very low but the sentimental value is priceless.

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  2. I was so hoping someone would say that.

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  3. My late son kept all communication from me. In his possession I found all the birthday cards and missives I sent him. It gave me great comfort to know that he kept these and treasured them. Keep your letters.

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  4. I'm a bad one to ask. My instinct is to keep things like that, but when I find them and go over them they make me feel sad and sentimental, so I pitch everything as soon as I've read it and responded. I remember everything . . . to a fault . . . anyway.

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  5. Perhaps if I had a brilliant memory .... but I'm amazed at how many events I had forgotten that were really significant.

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