I was cleaning out some shelves in the basement today. I cleaned an old train set and listed it on Ebay. I recycled a large box of old scripts from my theater days. And then I saw it. A box marked “Robin’s Letters”. The box was sealed. It must have followed me from move to move over the years. Instead of putting it back on the shelf I decided to open it.
Inside were hundreds, and I mean HUNDREDS of hand-written letters I had received from childhood until 1990. Letters from friends who were attending summer camp. Love letters from old boyfriends. Birthday cards from college pals. Did I mention love letters from old boyfriends? What to do with these, I wondered. The letters were all neatly bundled, organized alternately by time or sender. Most letters were hand written (in script—something not being taught in school these days) and some were composed on a typewriter (oh how HIP I felt when I packed up that electric Smith-Corona typewriter and took it to college!). I read a few birthday cards, love letters, school notes and they brought me back to that person, to that place, to that feeling. I couldn’t bear to throw them away. To see a person’s handwriting — there is something special about that. The writing conveys emotion, intent, point of view in and of itself.
Another decade, another day, I will sit with my letters and read them and remember, but that day is not today.