September 15, 2014
I wish you mail. I wish you good mail! There is a difference, you know. Good mail is the mail that engages you completely. It makes you want to sit right down and write back, even when you can't. Good mail is keeper-mail. What ever makes you happy-to-get mail, well, that is good mail. And I want to write only that kind of mail. I often fall short but it does not keep me from trying.
When all I had to write about to keep up my end of the correspondence relationship was paragraphs about weeding, birdwatching, and watching grass grow, I did my best. We can only write what we know. I learned that back in creative writing classes. I try not to stray from that great advice even when I want to tell a story instead. Besides, telling you about my days is how we all tell our own stories. Right? So, it might be boring, repetitious, and questionable at times, but it's all about the journey and trying to write good mail.
I tend to send JC on vacations while I choose to hug the home hearth, in order to keep the home fires banked. He has never failed to return without great stories about his adventures, very few photos, and no souvenirs, or gifts. Nope, no postcards either. No matter. They were his vacations, not mine. I believe that I have sent postcards from every state I've lived in since grade school. I even have the nerve to send them when we beach-out in Galveston!
I've traveled throughout my entire life. This last decade bore witness to my putting down roots and staying put for a spell. Getting a post office box is proof of my intent to stay awhile! Ha-ha-ha! Growing up, we moved every time Uncle Sam ordered it. We learned not to form attachments, we never expected to make forever-and-a-day friends, and we learned not order a class ring when you were a year away from graduation. You might end up graduating under a tiger mascot instead of the mustangs--in Texas instead of Oklahoma. I think I'd have died young and ignorant had we stayed in one place though. Being a tumbleweed carried over into my adult life, so that now, I cannot imagine a different way of life. "Thank you, Daddy!"
A first step in adjusting to our new place of residence often depended on how quickly we learned and memorized our address--usually occurred within the first week after we'd been relocated. We certainly knew it by the time we'd been enrolled in school. Sending our new address "home" to her mom and sisters as soon as she had it written down and verified, were parts pages to fill with news of the new city she meant to raise her family in for as long as Old Sam allowed; she often signed off with, "Anxiously awaiting your reply, Love Belle," and wait she did. Well, I know my Mama was happier and less lonesome when there was mail from home. Still and all, an empty mail box bore its own message. To the young me it felt like no one cared about her anymore, probably because she was so far away. So, I could hardly wait until I learned how to write a proper letter in school. I'd remind her family to write more often! Besides, my letters were different, more exciting, and always included a drawings! Even my salutations were different from the ones my grandma Annie and my aunts seemed to prefer, so how could they not write? Without fail, theirs began,
How are you, fine I hope. Or, Dear Belle, How are you? Fine, I hope. They asked after Daddy and us. They shared the latest news of relatives, births and deaths, described the weather, and that was pretty much it. Not once did a letter end with "Love," your sister/mother. They predictably signed off with, "Yours truly, Annie, or Pauline or Hazel . . ."
I don't recall how my father's mother, the other Annie, began her letters. Mama usually got rid of them as soon as she'd answered or committed Grandma's words to memory. I have my theories of the why behind it all, but little-girl theories don't amount to much. I do know that I took dictation when I was in the fifth grade. Mama dictated and I
How are you? Fine, I hope. We are all well.
Fast forward to the present. Ask me how often Mama writes letters now. If you ask me in a letter I'll begin to tell you with,
How are you? I hope you are well and . . .
Habits are ingrained rituals we often perform without thinking. One of my own is asking after someone's health. I ask about the weather as well. Why? Because someday, someone might Google what the weather was like way back when in Katy/Houston, and . . . Okay. Not really, but weather patterns are important to future Earthlings who collect such data, as the world turns. It also helps me choose suitable gifts if I am ever inclined to do so. For instance. I bought a bunch of mini kites for pen friends this past spring. I loved making and flying kites when I was a kid, Few adults fly their own kites. You understand, yes? Well, I never sent them. They were out of season before I even bought them, but some day . . .
So. Mail is often as important as chocolates. In fact, it is a lot like a box of chocolates, don't you think? You never know what you're gonna get. And since you don't, I reckon it should all be good.
I wish you mail! Good mail.