We writers occupy a host of interests that seem to spring from as many experiences, whether they be escape routes or chosen professions. My mother belonged to the former group. I first became aware of this activity during World War II, perhaps 1942. It must have been how she coped with the uncertainties that controlled her life.
During that period the telephone was affordable own. They were necessary in case of emergencies – accidents and house fires, but little else. If someone was coming home on furlough for the holidays a telegram was wired, but more often a letter was written. Since soldier mail as free of any postal charges the choice was obvious. Another advantage: letters were delivered twice each day and once on Saturday. Who needed a phone?
One stormy night, probably in 1942, I awoke to see a sliver of light beneath my bedroom door. I found Mom seated at the table penning a letter. The window over the table faced north and it was taking a beating, the pane rattling with from the force of each gust. Too many years have passed for me to recall who that letter was for. It could have been any one of her three brothers or brother-in-law serving in Europe and Iceland.
A number of years then passed while I served in the air force and raised a family. In 1982, two days after Christmas, my father passed away. We moved Mom in with us.
She was still writing letters, perhaps more than any time previously because she was an active member of several pen pal clubs.
Fat envelopes arrived in her mailbox bearing as many as a dozen letters. She might be three or four days reading all the letters before removing her letter and replacing it with a new one. One of her clubs focused a hanky exchange. Another exchanged doilies.
She continued with her writing well into her eighties. We will never know how much longer she might have forged on had Alzheimer’s Disease not gotten in the way.