Letters in an Old Trunk

Lindsay’s post about MommyBloggers , and whether they are exploiting their children got me to thinking.

I guess you could call me a DaddyBlogger since 90% of my posts are about my children. Am I exploiting my children? Will they one day hate me for what I am writing? These questions roll around in my mind. And then I remember the Letters in the Old Trunk.

My grandfather was a man of few words. He was of the generation that grew up during the Depression, and came of age in World War II. My father remembers him as a stern man, but my memories are of a quiet but very loving grandfather. He never told me he loved me (men in my family just do not do that), but the look he gave me on his deathbed when I was 18 told me all I needed to know.

Shortly after his death, we were sorting through his “stuff”; you know, the pre-estate-sale kind of scouring a family does when a loved one dies. It was then that we opened the old trunk that had always been shut in his bedroom. Inside the trunk were the astounding letters. They were letters he had written to my grandmother before they were married.

They were beautiful. Poetic. They told an incredibly romantic story of a man who set out to make his way so he could provide for the woman he wished to marry. They told of hard struggles, setback, toil. They told of loneliness, longing, love.

Suddenly to me, the man I had only known as my dad’s old dad – came to life. Now, I could see him not just as a sick old man, but as a young, vibrant man desperately in love and struggling to make his way. They filled in the holes in my perception of my grandfather. With The Letters, I not only grieved the death of a sick old man, I also could celebrate the knowledge of a Life Well Lived.

I am definitely my grandfather’s grandson. There are many things I could NEVER say to my children face to face. So, I write them down, and strangely enough, post them for the world to see. Hiding in plain sight, as it were.

We have no idea what the internet will look like in 10 years, much less 40. But hopefully, when I am gone, my children (and grandchildren) can cling to my words and hold them close like a grainy photograph. Someday, they can look at my silly posts about Halloween, Christmas, elections, raking leaves, television shows, and the rest, and get a clearer picture of who I was. If anything, they will know that I loved them more than life itself.

Maybe, just maybe they’ll see the evidence of a Life Well Lived.

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15 Responses to “Letters in an Old Trunk”

  1. Suburban Turmoil Says:

    This is awesome! Thanks for sharing it with me.

  2. jennster Says:

    i think if our kids EVEN CARE ENOUGH TO READ IT WHEN THEY ARE OLD ENOUGH, it will be no more embarassing than “embarrasing” pictures we take of them. know what i mean??? and also, i think they will like to read what we have to say- it would be cool to have a memory like that if my mom was writing. i might hate some of the things she wrote, but i think for hte most part, it is a cool memoire we are leaving them

  3. Suburban Turmoil Says:

    Hey, I gave you a Perfect Post Award for this post. Send me an e-mail at lucindthemom@yahoo.com if you’d like the code for the button to put on your site. 🙂

  4. Pass The Torch Says:

    Beautiful post!

  5. Jeff Dowdle Says:

    I’m a “daddyblogger” and my wife is a “mommyblogger” and I hope when our boys are older they will appreciate the day to day perspectives and the little window into their lives we are providing.

  6. RLGelber Says:

    I love this!

  7. Anne www.tinykingdom.typepad.com Says:

    I agree– I would never remember the crazy day to day things if I didn’t blog them.

  8. Monica Says:

    I agree. This is a WONDERFUL post. When my son left for Iraq in 2003 my mom’s cousin gave her some letters my grandfather wrote to my grandmother…priceless.

    I have all the letters my son wrote to me from war and someday I will share them with my grandchildren so they can see the young man who overcame illness and served his country.

    My kids know I blog and that I blog about them. I use one of my two pen names on my blog for privacy but other than that it’s a pretty open book.

  9. Lala Says:

    I came over from Suburban Turmoil. It is indeed a perfect post. Congratulations.

    http://lala.totsgo.com

  10. Sandy Says:

    Well said! Congrats on the perfect post award from Suburban Turmoil!

  11. Fate Says:

    Here, here! Well said! Thanks for saying that for the rest of us.

  12. My float Says:

    Well said. I found a bundle of my dad and mum’s love letters when I was a bored teenager. They gave me such an insight into the young, spirited people they’d been before life knocked them over into the tired, harried people that I knew.

    Thanks, and well done on your perfect post award.

  13. Mooselet Says:

    Very nicely said. Congrats on your Perfect Post Award.

  14. Laynie Says:

    My grandfather’s letters to my grandmother from the war were all destroyed in Katrina last year. So were the baby pictures of my mom and her siblings and the journals and cards my grandmother kept. It’s too bad they couldn’t have immortalized their memoirs on the internet then as we can do now. Those who do not take this opportunity to chronicle their lives should not be faulted, but neither should those who choose to take advantage of this innovative way of making the daily struggles of regular families part of the lives of others who might share their struggles and triumphs. Little people have a voice here, unlike any other media in existance. You have to be somebody to publish a book. You have to live through unbearable tragedy to have a movie made about your life. But regular folks like you and me can tell our stories on the internet. I think in generations to come, our children will not resent this, but will come to view it as part of a parent’s “photo album” of their growing up years. I know I appreciate what my mother wrote in my baby book, but my younger siblings’ baby books are empty. I bet they would appreciate it if my mom took the time to chronicle their development online or anywhere else for that matter.

    Three cheers for parents who blog about their kids. They are proud enough to share their kids with the world.

  15. MommasWorld Says:

    My mother kept a journal/diary in plain black & white composition books. When I was a teenager she let me read one which was written around the time I was born. It was great to hear about things I would not have remembered being I was so young. My father is going to write his autobiography as a retirement project. He plans to use the diaries to help jog his memeory. I am the lucky one who will type up the old diaries to put them on his computer.

    Old letters and writtings are a great read.


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