This week my mother-in-law Charlotte Nicholas Taylor died. I’ve been writing a letter to her once a week for years, and have shared copies with many others, and had to decide whether to keep writing it for them now that she’s gone.
I’ve decided to not just keep writing, but add them to this website, as some people find them amusing. There’s a difference between a “blog post”- being put in a public place for the whole world to see (even when you know that not many are interested, and you may only get two or three “hits”), and a letter you write to family and friends. While I will be adding the new ones at one a week (except for busy weeks when I don’t get to writing), I can add backlogged ones at maybe one per day. This process will be slowed down by re-reading them to see if I should take anything out to protect privacy of those I wrote about weeks, or even years ago.
I have considerable ambivalence about this project, despite the encouragement of those who have urged me to “share your blog” (make them public). The point of these letters has always been to bring people together, to strengthen the ties of family, and distance friends. I find it reassuring when I hear about the problems others are facing and it makes it easier for me to accept when I have to suffer through the “learning experience” that results from doing something really stupid (or even when it’s not my fault). When you know that everyone gets hit with the occasional “clue-by-four” occasionally, you can console yourself that the world is out to get you, but it happens to everyone. Schadenfreude is the core of comedy, and shared adventures bring people together. But, at the same time, sometimes a story is not mine to share, and I’ll have to excise those bits.
When I was young our kitchen in Winchester was nearly always full of friends, Mother’s as well as well as ours. Barbara, one of her friends, once said that any time her life seemed to be chaotic, all she had to do was to visit Mom for an hour. Suddenly her life seemed, if not calm, at least manageable. I hope Charlotte’s letters will serve the same purpose.
While I’ll be adding new ones one at a time, the old ones will be added as I get to them. As there get to be more, you’ll be able to find them by going to the letter menu, and picking them by date. Figuring around fifty letters a year, for around 20 years, it may take me a while to get them posted, and some may be missing. Also, as any who know me are aware, I may well get involved in other projects and lose track of this one. We’ll see how it goes.