Modern Day Letters from 3 Women

I get a lot of email. Yesterday I got over 80 messages in my gmail box (which is actually 5 accounts that come into one “box”). I have not checked other email accounts, but I imagine that yesterday I received well over 100 emails in all of my accounts together — closer to 200 if you include the account that houses emails from freecycle and DC Web Women lists.

In a typical week I receive maybe one personal email (not counting  work emails or the emails that alert me to comments on my blog or emails from the email lists I manage asking how to do this or that).  Sometimes I get a little annoyed that of all those emails none is directed personally to me. None ask how I am or what I’ve been up to. But then how many of those emails do I send out myself? Um… None?

So I was surprised and delighted when I received three personal emails yesterday all from women who have been important parts of my life.

The first email arrived around 8:30 am and was from a woman who was the principal at a school where I taught when we first moved to the DC area. She left the area, but we kept in touch for a few years. We lost touch for a while but Linked-In got us back in touch. The years I worked at her school were the best years in my teaching career. She was a wonderful principal and I’m glad she is working as a principal again. I’m envious of the teachers who work with her.

The second email was even more of a surprise, but should not have been since I’d sent an email to this person a few days ago. It was a surprise because more than half of me thought I would not get a response and as the days went by I expected a response less and less.

The email was from a woman who was my roommate when I first moved out of my parent’s house. I was a late bloomer, so that was when I was 23 or so. Maybe 24. She and I met in 1974 — she was a Jeremy’s schoolmate and friend. We were pen pals during the time Jeremy and I were a “couple” and after we broke up this woman came to the US for a visit. She liked it so much she came back as soon as she could and moved into an apartment with me on Mosley Street in Elgin. We had a bit of a rough time — I wasn’t used to roommates. I was envious of her blond hair, beautiful face and ease with other people. We parted on bad terms sometime early in 1980 and never spoke again.

Well, through a series of fortunate events (and my superior stalking research skills) I was able to obtain her email address (from her brother) and wrote her a brief and apologetic email on February 12.

She wrote me that she’d also been thinking about me and that she was happy that I found her and would like to keep in touch. She also mentioned she was in the hospital and had come close to not making it a few days ago.  I pray for her speedy recovery. I still can’t believe we’re in touch again.

The third email was not really a surprise at all, because I’d emailed the sender yesterday morning. She was a neighbor when we lived in Alexandria and one of the few people I feel completely at ease with. I wish we’d see each other more often, but it just doesn’t happen.

Keeping in touch is something I used to be much better at. I used to have at least 3 pen pals at a time. Writing letters was a high point in my day. I rarely write letters anymore — finding addresses, putting stamps on them and sending them just seems too much bother. I’m better with emails but I don’t always remember to  follow through.  I’m going to try to remember my joy at receiving the 3 emails yesterday and be more conscientious about emailing people I care about more often. I might even write a real letter now and then.

[Update: The English friend is out of the hospital and at home. The clot was dissolved.]

9 thoughts on “Modern Day Letters from 3 Women

  1. Sounds to me like you're in danger of drowning in e-mails. Is there any way you can cut down on those numbers? That might free up some time and mental space with which to write, and get, some personal messages.

    BTW, isn't it interesting that you unknowingly chose this time to reconcile with your English friend, just as she was so sick? And aren't you glad you did!

  2. Oh my, Lali — I don't read all those emails! They just come to my box. Most are lists — birding & school related. I read them if the subject sounds interesting. Some are service related — things I opted in for (most of those could go but I'm too lazy to figure out how to unsubscribe) and the rest are emails about wrestling, the neighborhood or the film group. It is not the emails I get that prevent me from writing. It is the other stuff that keeps me “busy”.

    Yes, it is interesting that I wrote to my English friend now — although I would have done so before, had I been able to find her earlier. I'm very worried about her.

  3. OMG Dona, I clicked on comments and it took me right here! Not sure what's different, but I'm hopeful…

    I was going to say something like Lali said—the timing of you finding your old friend is very interesting. Once I found a friend 3 days before his x-wife was getting married (I didn't know they had split). So we had a two-hour phone conversation during the ceremony…

  4. I know, IB, it is interesting about the timing. I worried about her for two days and threw in a prayer or two.

    Your reconnection with your friend was interesting time-wise as well.

  5. A few years ago I made a New Year's resolution to write more letters. (Yes, really write them – with pen and ink and paper). I wasn't very successful at it. You're encouraging me to to it more often.

  6. I only have one friend who still sends me “real” letters. Every time I see one in the mailbox I get so excited. Emails always seem too short and not really like letters. I don't know why that's so. Really, it's just a different way of transporting what should be the same contents. It's peculiar.

    Your emails sound like they really meant something to the people who received them though.

  7. I only have one friend who still sends me “real” letters. Every time I see one in the mailbox I get so excited. Emails always seem too short and not really like letters. I don't know why that's so. Really, it's just a different way of transporting what should be the same contents. It's peculiar.

    Your emails sound like they really meant something to the people who received them though.

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