My father wrote a letter to his parents after I was born to describe Mom’s labour and my arrival. Six decades later, I was given that letter from an aunt. She had inherited my grandmother’s desk decades earlier. It expresses his humour and he describes his deep love for me. Dad did not express these same feelings throughout my life. We rode a similar roller coaster that other women do with their fathers. I cry happy tears each time I read it and I’m so grateful that it was passed along to me.

This special letter lives in my ‘Death File’ with all those other important papers and things that need tending to when I die. I hope that letter will mean something to one of my children. I’ve also tucked letters in there for them and a few for close friends.

I’ve saved many letters through my life but none of them has meant more to me than the one that Dad wrote in 1956. That’s the enduring power of letters.

Even a postcard can change your life. I’m a member of ‘Postcrossing’. We are a large group around the world who send postcards to one another. It’s fun to choose the right one to send. When I commit to sending one, my name goes to another person and they send one to me. It’s entertaining to get unusual postcards from remote places. Some are handmade. A few people describe their personal lives and others tell me about their town or detail the weather.

During lockdown, a neighbour moved here from China and I was touring him around the area, showing him which shops I like and the ravine I walk around. He was eagerly waiting for permission for his wife to come to Canada and I casually asked where they met. I was astonished when he told me that it was through Postcrossing! She sent him a postcard from her Russian home to the US, where he was studying at the time. She had written his name in Mandarin and he was intrigued. She was studying Chinese history and they stayed in touch. Over time, she moved to China to continue her studies. When she let him know that she was moving, he let her know that he had just secured work in the same city and offered to show her around. As they say, the rest is history. These delightful people are now living a few doors from me. Who knows what the future holds?

Throughout the last 21 months, I’ve written and received many heartfelt letters and cards. I am always thrilled to find one in the mail and know how excited my friends are to get theirs. A few older friends have phoned to thank me, and we catch up in real time.

Do you have a moment to send a few words by ‘snail mail’ to someone you know and love this month? It will give them a small thrill to find it among their bills or it could have a lasting impact.

Happy Holidays to each one of you. Know that I hold you in my heart and that you are an important part of our Spoken Lives community. I am so grateful for your time and attention.

Don't Be Shy


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