From The Archives: Box Full of Letters

This post’s genesis is something I put on Facebook in May; it’s been considerably expanded from the original.

I’m still in the process of slowly going through the things I took when I cleared out my parents’ townhome a couple of years ago. Back in May, I came across a box of correspondence my mother had kept; among the items in it were letters I sent while I was in college and grad school. I didn’t recall (but can definitely believe) that I wrote home quite as sporadically as apparently I did–I called roughly twice a week, though. Here are the starts of the last letter I wrote while at Transy (from the content I can tell the date was actually January 85) and the first one I penned after moving to Illinois.



The “only three letters while in college” must have been a running joke!

Last month, in a different collection of Mom’s keepsakes, I found my first letter from college; I wrote it 35 years ago today.


It was a dreary, cool Saturday morning. Among the topics I discuss: 1) tackling homework (I claimed I was putting off calculus until Sun, while the rest would be addressed that day); 2) the movie I’d seen on campus the evening before (Whose Life Is It Anyway?, with Richard Dreyfuss); 3) my poor sleep overnight (definitely foreshadowing my current life); and 4) plans for a hiking trip to Berea the next weekend (pretty certain this actually happened, based on the people mentioned as going). It’s implicit that my roommate had gone home for the weekend. I tell my folks and sister that I miss them and love them and that “I’m always just a phone call away.”

I proclaimed my newish status in the return address (see header above).

The letter definitely sounds like me, and prodded by the knowledge of other events going on in my life at the time, I think I can just barely remember putting pen to paper for this missive while sitting on my bed.

That weekend also marked the end of my AT40 chart-keeping.  While I have written evidence that I took notes until around February, I didn’t fill an 8.5″ by 11″ piece of paper with a countdown after 10/2/82.

While I’m sorta hoping that I’ll find the still-missing second college-era letter at some point, I’m beginning to run out of unexamined bins through which to rummage. I’m so grateful to Mom for keeping these. Allowing me the opportunity to revisit some of the nooks and crannies of my life is only secondary; knowing that she treasured them means much more.

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