Emotional Gifts

After I retired, I had time to go through boxes of personal papers that I had saved.

These included letters that current friends and family had written to me over many years.

It was fun rereading many of these, but at this point in my life I don’t feel the need to keep them.

Instead of throwing them away, I decided that the sender might enjoy reading what they had written decades earlier, so I bundled packets of their individual

letters off with notes to the effect: “Cleaning house! Here’s a blast from your past! Enjoy!”

Now months later, I have not heard back from one person.

I’m questioning whether I did something wrong.

I know that I would enjoy reading letters I wrote many years ago, but maybe that’s just me.

Should I have just destroyed these old letters, instead?

Cleaning in Culver City

Reading this query, I am on the fence with Amy’s answer which reads “This was an extremely thoughtful thing to do. I can imagine that this gesture might have brought up a lot of feelings for the recipients, and I wonder, now that letter-writing seems to be on the decline, how future generations will chronicle their lives and long friendships. I can’t imagine why people didn’t contact you to acknowledge this effort; I hope you will follow up to ask if they had reread their letters and enjoyed them as much as you had. Their responses might reveal some complicated emotions.”

I believe this individual should have outreached first, to ask if these individuals wanted these pieces of nostalgia back. There are some individuals who simply do not prefer to look back to the past, or feel slighted. When I had all my photos digitized and labeled, I wanted to return the originals to the recipients in the photos. I outreached as many as I could to ask if they wanted them, and I made sure to inform them I would be returning them on my dime and that those not claimed would be disposed of. Many were happy to have photos of their younger selves, others declined, and some inquired what I meant by dispose. I informed them they would be given to charity. Upon hearing this, some accepted. Then there were those that never responded. 

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2 Responses to Emotional Gifts

  1. I believe in the 20th century those people would have called you and reminisced over those letters. But in these 21st centuries of the USA, everything is different. Literally!

    Liked by 1 person

    • msw blog says:

      Maybe, I know when I digitized my photos, and offered to return the original prints it was a LOT of beautiful, interesting conversations. I truly believe the reader should have asked, before sending the letters. Everybody does not do surprises, or want to revisit their past.

      Liked by 1 person

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