Thursday, October 21, 2021

You've Got Mail!

 


Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God, to God's holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:  Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. ~Ephesians 1:1-2

On our most recent trip to Mom's, I set about the task of going through seemingly endless piles of large envelopes filled with cards, letters and miscellaneous items my parents kept throughout the years.  It is, in a word, overwhelming.  I never realized what pack rats my folks were because their home is so large, and it is convenient to squirrel away untold trash and treasure where it isn't readily visible.

It is easy to toss Christmas cards, birthday cards and calendars dating back to the 90s without even looking closely inside the packets, but many others are problematic.  Each of these envelopes demands the emptying of its contents in order to decide what's worth keeping and what should be cast aside.

There are plenty of sentimental items that I don't really want to keep, but don't feel I have the authority to throw away without my brother, Bill, getting a go-through first, so I leave quite a few piles on Mom's dining room table for him to peruse on his next visit.  What I do bring home with me to sort and save are the hundreds of letters exchanged over the years between my grandparents, Mom and Dad, a dear relatives now departed.  These are treasures, indeed, and it makes me grateful that my parents did make the effort to save these.  I'm hoping, by the time I'm through reading and cataloguing all of these, that a bigger picture can be drawn of my family tree.


These are the contents of just ONE envelope!  Does anyone remember those thin, flimsy air mail missives?  I'm sure glad the envelopes were saved with the content as I'm counting on the postmarks to allow me to date the letters more accurately.  I even find, at least in this pile, a letter I write to my Dad when he was away in Iowa for a summer of study on corn plants!


Oh, how precious these items are to me!  But just imagine how powerfully impressive and precious Paul's letters were to the early Christian communities, eager to hear his inspirational messages and exhortations.  There was no reading/hearing them once, then tossing them away like yesterday's news.  These were pearls of infinite value to the often persecuted and struggling followers of Christ Jesus.

Without these early Christian converts, saving and savoring Paul's letters and, undoubtedly, copying them over and over and over for the sake of preservation, what would our beloved New Testament look like?  I dare say we would be made all the poorer in our faith had these not been included.

So, I will save these letters, rewriting some if I have to, and pass them down to future generations.  Perhaps, they will become just as meaningful to them as they are to me.

Amen!

39 comments:

  1. Dearest Martha Jane,
    Well, you've come upon something that I've dealt with while being on crutches with my double (closed) pelvic bone fracture. At the time when I was not allowed to do anything for 3 months, I asked my Pieter to bring all the bags with letters upstairs. I'd sorted them by year and bagged up. Now I did make stacks by year and person. Especially letters from my Mom (Dad seldom wrote) and Pieter's Mom. Did start scanning them ALL. Pieter read those that I'd scanned and we trashed them.
    I've managed already some five years for putting Moms letters into a Pdf and that I've shared with my siblings. Those that are close to me and were to Mom & Dad.
    It are treasures that way and it gives you such an insight in who we are and where we came from!
    The written word has had always a lot of value to me. WISH i'd still have my Heeroom's letters from Indonesia. I was the one that always had to reply to him, due to my handwriting skills...
    Such letters are like a conversation and you also can understand the person a lot better.
    Good luck!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

    https://mariettesbacktobasics.blogspot.com/2018/11/sentimental-treasure-from-mom.html

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing your own experience of sorting through and preserving correspondence, Mariette. You've inspired me to tackle this task with fresh resolve. It really is a treasure hunt, isn't it? Notably missing, as were your letters from Indonesia, are mine from college to my parents, although they just might turn up . . .
      Love and blessings!

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    2. Heeroom's letters were at Mom & Dad's place and my next sister trashed out most of it; some eight years before Mom's passing. She took home what she liked and big loads to the trash. Mom often wept. She also took the handmade wooden chest for yarn, buttons and such, that Dad had made her. She wept saying I'm not yet dead... That was agony over the phone with her. SAD! Not all humans respect and treasure others' possessions.

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    3. Oh, that's one of the saddest stories I've ever heard. :( We should respect the possessions of others, always. So sorry that your mother had to go through this.

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  2. It proves how valuable your letter to your father was, that you parents kept it for so long. You were, and are, very valuable to them, Martha. That is the lesson I learnt here.

    God bless you and your family always.

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    1. Thank you, Victor. It is a joy to be able to rediscover people I've loved in the past through their words. And to even rediscover myself as a little girl. :)
      Love and blessings!

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  3. I feel fortunate that my mother was decidedly not a pack rack; she sold everything at garage sales for years, including all of my Hardy Boys books. She also didn't keep much in the way of paper, like letters and Christmas cards. I did not inherit that gene from her; I look at our basement and think, "Oh, my goodness."

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    1. Oh, wow, Glynn! How interesting that your inclinations are just the opposite of your mother's. I'm sure you've saved lots of marvelous things over the years, but you might wish to consider going through the items sooner than later so they can be organized for your boys a long ways down the road.
      Love and blessings!

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  4. My heart! Yes, of course, I remember those envelopes ... you have what looks like a virtual time capsule there! No matter how many times I've seen them, I still get warm feelings when I see my parent's handwriting ... their signature styles, if you will. My own penmanship has sure gone to pot, in favor of keying. I fear the hand-written letter has begun to fade into oblivion, and few are left to care.

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    1. You are so right, Myra, about the lost art of handwritten letters. I've tried to get Virginia interested in such correspondence, but as of yet, to no avail. Yes, these are time capsules that will take me lots of time, and patience, to read and sort accordingly, but I'm looking forward to it all. What a wonderful reminder of how unique we are to recognize the difference in all of our handwriting. It may be nuanced, but it can't be mistaken.
      Love and blessings!

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  5. I felt the love and caring that was most likely written in those missives. What care your parents took of preserving them for future generations. What a wonderful discovery for you and your future generations. Hugs and blessings.

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    1. How I do hope my grandchildren and my brothers' will appreciate these peeks into history, Nells! Back in the day when long distance calling was prohibitive in cost, letters were the only way to go. Yes, I'm glad these were all saved, too.
      Love and blessings!

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  6. Hopefully at least one of your granddaughters will appreciate family history and wish to preserve some of the more precious items --like that darling letter that includes Kaptain Kangaroo! Of course, you'll have to explain who he was. Wouldn't surprise me if they don't have youtube video clips of the show! Mementos have value, I think, when they bring to mind those who've left a worthy legacy. My grandmother was just such a person. I now own her child-size rocker from when she was a girl, an oil lamp from her youth, her mantel clock, and sapphire ring. They are precious possessions to pass down to my granddaughters--with the stories of their strong, courageous, and godly great-great grandmother.

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    1. Oh, Nancy, what beautiful possessions you have from your grandmother, and I know you treasure them with all your heart. I have similar items from both my grandmothers: a cedar chest and this lady's writing desk where I'm planning to sort all the letters and cards. I'm just going to have to check YouTube to see if there is any Captain Kangaroo out there. I'm betting there are some episodes!
      Love and blessings!

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  7. A huge job but a necessary one and finding the treasures to keep and maintain make it all worthwhile. What a blessing it will be for loved ones to have going forward. Have a good weekend, Martha. Blessings! xo

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    1. Oh, I do hope these letters, cards, etc., will not only mean something to me, but to my grands, Terri. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, too, my friend.
      Love and blessings!

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  8. "One man's junk is another man's treasure" is what they say. While some might have considered what you found just throw-away stuff, you found a treasure. I like the idea you are not just keeping them, Martha, but also keeping them for your future generations to see. As you said, like Paul's letters. Great analogy!

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    1. I'm so glad you liked the analogy, Bill. Truly, what would the NT be without Paul's letters? I can only hope that future generations will even want to read these letters. At least, I know that I do.
      Love and blessings!

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  9. Wow, Martha, these are rare treasures indeed! To have letters between your grandparents that date back many years is a true find. Priceless, really! I'm sure they make for interesting reading and some historic.

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    1. I have yet to truly plunge into the mail, Karen, but I'm looking forward to any and all discoveries that come to light in the process. They are all rare and priceless, that's for sure!
      Love and blessings!

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  10. I imagine you are remembering your childhood. Happy memories in early childhood days have the precious power to live through this world as you grow up. I remember vaguely Dostoevskiy said like that.

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    1. Yes, Miss Crane, these have stirred some childhood memories for me, and I'm sure they will continue as I delve into this treasure trove left to me by my parents. Thanks for stopping by!
      Love and blessings!

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    2. Thanks for leaving your comment on my post. No problem. It's not easy to know a commenter is male or female.
      I am very happy to have a chance to read this heartwarming post.

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  11. Boa tarde Martha. Eu tenho uma coleção de cartões de telefone que alguns já tem mais de 24 anos.

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    1. Wow, Luiz, how cool is that? Treasure always the messages from loved ones.
      Love and blessings!

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  12. Oh what a treasure you have there, but impossible to keep everything. Sometimes I wonder why we keep so much stuff, can't take it with you when you go. But I can imagine it must be precious going through your mom's keepsakes.

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    1. I have the same mindset as you, Marja - I'm not someone who hangs onto things, even cards. But now I'm beginning to see the rhyme behind the reason. If it paints the past with a broader brush, it's all worth saving the things we can't take with us.
      Love and blessings!

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  13. Aw, Martha! This is so precious! I am so happy you found all those letters and are able to recall those memories. May God comfort you when it all becomes overwhelming.

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    1. Thanks so much, Cheryl! Yes, I'm so aware that this may become a bit overwhelming, emotionally, so I plan to take my time and ask God to lead me through it.
      Love and blessings!

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  14. That is quite a job, going through those large envelopes. I have done that with my in-laws, years ago, and more recently with my mother's things (she is still living). I hope to go through my own things and have less for my children to deal with.

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    1. It is a big job, Barbara, and one you know well as you've gone through it before. I don't want to leave unnecessary tasks for my children to have to do, either, when I'm gone. We all want to make life easier on them, don't we?
      Love and blessings!

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  15. What a daunting task Ms. Martha. You've made me want to send a card or flowers to my sister Sue. She's handled 99.99 percent of dad's estate and all the paperwork. Have tried to help where I can, but with us scattered across the US, it's challenging. I can't imagine the flood of emotions these "treasures" will bring. I'm thinking about my great-grandfather (Damon's) journal, whom I never met, but was my adopted dad's grandfather. He was a farmer too, in western Massachusetts. How I've loved the installments my sister has shared with me of family I've only heard about. Lest we forget my friend. Of course, in your case, I'm sensing a wonderful book opportunity in the future for you from this effort. God's blessings ma'am.

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    1. I'm sure you have enjoyed the installments of your great-grandfather's journal, J. D. - such things like these are priceless! Yes, I'm sure the flood gates will open when I do finally getting around to reading and sorting. Don't know if there will be anything that will spur a book write, but I can only hope!
      Love and blessings!

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  16. Congratulations, wonderful work, it's beautiful so much and good idea on site.
    បាល់ផ្សាយបន្តផ្ទាល់_ live football

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  17. Oh, Martha! I know what it's like to go through all the items left behind when a loved one passes away. I did the same thing with my sweet mother and more recently with my dear brother and sister-in-law. It's a bitter-sweet treasure indeed.
    I continue to pray for God's comfort and peace for you, my friend.

    Blessings and love!

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  18. Precious treasures, letters are, and how difficult it is to decide what to keep, and what to let go. Life is full of meaningful moments, and it is impossible to keep them all. Perhaps you could have them copied, and put into a digital file, if physical space is not realistic. I understand your struggles well. I find it hard myself to throw away things. What a special treasure to find letters that you wrote as a child! May the Lord be with you in this difficult season of letting go!

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