My maternal grandmother only went to school through third grade but at some point she learned and understood the importance of writing to share her thoughts. She did that throughout her life by sending handwritten letters to her children and grandchildren. Below is an excerpt from a letter dated September 15, 1967 that she sent to me when I was in second grade:
“Your letter is so nice. Isn’t it a wonderful thing that we can learn to write words and letters to convey our thoughts to others? So many things we take for granted, not realizing that all these things are a gift from our Creator; the one who made us. What if we couldn’t think? We can make ABC’s and put them into words. Just think for 6¢ I can send this letter 600 miles to you. Don’t we have lots of things to be thankful for?”
Growing up I lived in Northwest Indiana and Grandma Madden, who was born in 1892 and died in 1978, lived in Webb City, Missouri. Long distance telephone calls were too expensive so we kept in touch exchanging handwritten letters. I felt so special when I would find a letter addressed to me! In today’s technological age handwritten letters are rarely delivered by car or foot to our house mailbox.
I am so thankful that my mother saved these letters, and I have enjoyed perusing through them and cherishing the memories that she preserved on paper. I’m extremely excited because now I have them preserved for future generations since I recently typed her letters, added pictures of the people she was speaking of and printed them in book format. I gave my children copies of the books so in years to come, their children will come to cherish their great-great grandmother that they have never met.
Keeping Your Memories of your grandparents can be priceless. For those who are fortunate to still have their grandparents, take time now to interview them and record their Life Story so they will always be with you in the future. Pull out your laptop or grab a pen and paper and start with the questions below:
- What has brought you the greatest sense of meaning and purpose in life?
- What is the role that spirituality has played in your life?
- What were some of the major “crossroads” moments in your life, times when you went in one direction or another and it made a large difference in terms of how your life turned out?
- What is the best advice you ever received from someone else about life?
- If you could give only one sentence of advice to those younger than you on finding a happy and meaningful life, what one sentence would you pass on?