Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Two Letters

Hi all,
It seems like more than a week since I posted an entry on Link 2 Literacy. I have been busy working and preparing for the holidays as all of you have, but I wanted to share my latest addition to the multigenre project. I feel like I am co-teaching with Cherri and co-learning with her students in a technical way. Whether or not I have much of an audience, I still find writing daily an invigorating experience.

I decided to complete the letter to my husband's grandmother first because I didn't think it would take much time. HA! Her letter is a long one - 13 feet, to be exact. (I'm sure you wonder why I referred to this epistle's length in terms of feet. She wrote her letter on toilet paper! It remains in tact and has lasted so long because the "tissue" is more like our paper towels.) Because I only own a photocopy, it was difficult to read parts of it. I spent an entire evening pouring over every word and then scanning the entire effort onto my computer. (I hope to post at least one page of her letter on my Wikispace).

I should have written little notes on stickies and placed them at corresponding points on the letter as I read it, but I was tired and thought I'd reread it and write the notes then. Well, I was so anxious to start my letter that I jumped right to it the next evening, trying to remember what I'd read. When all was completed, I ended up going back into the text at least a 1000 times to find the details that I failed to remember or to write on stickies!

The experience was a wonderful one for me. There were several terms or brand names in her letter that I did not recognize. I researched some but realized I'd never finish the letter if I kept that up. One day I'll continue the quest. Some parts of the letter sounded like they could have been written yesterday because Katie concerned herself with many of the same things that trouble women now: family, finances, neighbors, weather, etc. But her musings were also filled with words and "ways" we hear little of now.

I don't know how much education Katie had, but I doubt she finished school. In spite of that, her spelling was excellent. Grammatical construction was not as well done as her spelling, but I loved the quaintness of it, and I think it also reflected Midwestern colloquialism.

Just as Katie wrote a little each day, I wrote a little each night. It became a labor of love that helped me feel a kinship to this woman I never knew. Nevertheless, her influence upon her children, especially my father-in-law, impacts me. I think when I meet her "on the other side," I'll see that many of my husband's characteristics came from her - especially a sense of humor.

My letter isn't as long as Grandmother Katie's, but it stretches to 3 pages and includes over 2,000 words. Don't let that scare you! I hope readers catch a little glimpse into this cute lady and her era. Remember, letters like hers are primary sources that document times, people and places! You can find my letter by clicking onto this link: https://literacylinkup.wikispaces.com/Open+Letter+to+Katie.

Wishing you the happiest of holidays, I'll sign off until next year!


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