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w June 12, 2008

Save Them Emails

In the interest of trying to remember the exact list of job applications my dad put in to various universities when I was small, I pulled down the big box of correspondence my grandparents had saved from our nuclear family between about 1973 and 1988 - pretty amazing to see snapshots of your childhood fleshed out in many ways. For the record, I am *positive* Dad had applied to the University of Idaho-Boise among other places (this one stuck out, clearly) but couldn't find that particular letter. I did, however find one with a list of places much, much, MUCH worse. To wit: Orlando, FL. Norman, OK. Geneseo, NY. Newtown, PA. Flagstaff, AZ.

For all that I bitch about Toronto, jesus christ I got off lucky. Shit, Boise would have been better, at least there would have been fun winter activities.

Anyway, there were also some really sweet bits - a letter my mom wrote "from" me right after I was born, talking about how much I looked like my granddad and his mom - apparently the lucky recipient of her clear Welsh skin, har har. Hilarious stories about my sister as a toddler - every letter mentioned her quirky sense of humor (and trust, it was quirky but hysterical). How much I loved to read and how I wanted to know the French and German equivalents of a gazillion things (precocious, much? Argh). My father, the sweetest man in the world, but with a tendency toward curmudgeonly behavior, referring to the 12 puppies our Golden Retriever had as 'ugly as sin' and 'hope we can get rid of them all - one way or another' (for the record there, we did manage to give most of the surviving ones away and NO my dad did not drown any of them; one of the great benefits of teaching on a university campus is the ability to con students into things like taking free but ugly puppies). My cousin Josh and I meeting for the first time and just adoring each other - and as I mentioned before, now we have our own close in age daughters - pretty nifty. My grandfather recording hockey games for my dad in exile in Texas. A 'wish list' from my parents from the Canadian contingent, including this gem from my aforementioned curmudgeon dad: "...even some Canadian ALE so I can show these uninitiated what drinks of that type were meant to taste like before Madison Ave. told them that their tastes would accept only the 'light' beers. Snort.
The itinerary from the Toronto Symphony's European tour in 1983 that we poached on - including the flight from Prague to Frankfurt which was noted "Chartered by Czech Government". When you remind yourselves of the year in question, you'll all remember my stories of getting to fly GHETTO AEROFLOT. Because seriously, that's what Czech Air was.

My point with all this, besides self indulgent nostalgia - save your emails to and from family and friends, especially if you are recounting events and activities and kids' doings - it's the most wonderful diversion to read 30 years later. I leave you with my first foray into the world of tragic poetry, spelling and structure intact (though I cannot replicate the reasonable turkey illustration):

November 26, 1981 (Heather, age 6)

The turkeys

Thanksgiving is comeing
The turkeys
are running
we are glad
but they are sad.
the turkeys
are running.
by H. Gay

Oh, the pathos.

by at June 12, 2008 2:33 PM | TrackBack Comments
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