Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Most Recent Challenge

Many years ago Dad told me there was a box of them in the attic; a box of all the letters he and my mother exchanged while he was in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He told me because I was amazed that he came up with the letters they exchanged at Easter in 1945 just before I was born. He had dutifully climbed the pull down stairs, uncovered the box and searched through his collection and hers for the Easter time letters. The effort was in response to my request that year to each family member attending our Easter dinner at Mom and Dad's to come prepared to share a memory of Easter from the past. Little did I know how far back Dad would go.

So as we disturbed my parents' home, a home so carefully and loving decorated and arranged in the work of two lifetimes, I knew what the attic had in store for us. A box measuring 18x15x15 inches was packed with letters meticulously bundled and organized so that Mom's letters to Dad were on the bottom and his letters to her on the top. There are easily over a thousand letters, the vast majority two or more pages in length. Interspersed in the collection are letters from others - family and friends and men in the service.
I have opened and read letters from the fall of 1942 to the fall of 1943 and filled five large loose leaf binders with archival plastic sheet protectors each containing one letter and its envelope. All the letters (newspaper clippings, magazine articles, concert programs, etc.) are in wonderful condition but envelopes a bit ragged.

This is not the only process involved here. The other is deciding where this valuable collection should eventually go. And valuable they are. Stay tuned.

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