Tuesday, December 20, 2016

"Department of the Absurd" and "Memorabilia"

This has to do with spell-check and the intervening "mind" of the computer which is ever trying to figure out what one is saying, or wants to say. But it also very much has to do with people talking to one another in letters: the results, all these years later, treasurable.

I was writing my daughter an email in which I said I'd found two such letters in my family history boxes, each written by a different aunt. One was sent to me by my Aunt Connie (actually a card, not a letter) and one was sent from my Aunt Renie to my mother. Each box in the stacks of boxes in my bedroom is titled with the names of different pairs of wedded couples going back in time, just a way to put interesting communications like these in some place where I know I can find them again.

The first is a card Connie sent me, in which she'd enclosed, typed on a piece of paper, a beautiful quote from George Eliot:

"Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping and then, with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away."

In the card, Connie said she was sending it to me as that's how she felt about me...it's not hard to think that I would say the same to her. When I was a little child, I didn't know that once I was a grownup I would see things very much the way she did. I'm going to type below another excellent quote I found written on a scrap of paper among Connie's photos, clippings of poetry from the New Yorker, etc., all of which I keep in the box called "Connie & Larry".

This quote is Ambrose Bierce:

"History is an account,
  mostly false,
  of events,
  mostly unimportant,
  which are brought
        about by rulers,
  mostly knaves,
  and soldiers,
  mostly fools."

I don't see it as saying the soldiers are fools, but the rulers and knaves, definitely!

I typed it here exactly as she had written it on the piece of paper, with the spacing intact...I love it!

Here's where the absurd comes in:   in the email to my daughter, I'd said "Also found a very nice letter Renie wrote to Mom!"  But spellcheck changed "Renie" to "Renoir"!

In a minute, will tell what Renie's note to Mom said...

But first wanted to mention three earlier posts with more about the two aunts, and the Family History boxes...go to the bottom of blog and click on Earlier Posts until you find these dates and titles:

1.   My Aunt Connie & Adventure Magazine                        May 25, 2013

2.   Family History                                                                June 23, 2013

3.   Everything and its Opposite...                                        December 2, 2013

After providing something from Renie's note to Mom (and maybe Renoir's as well)...I will post photos of Connie and Renie...both were about the same age. I also found a lovely note Connie wrote to her sister (my mother) of which I will enjoy providing some excerpts (it was written during WW II.) I note that people seemed to write lots of frequent quick notes to others, the same way people email and text now...the stamps were I think 1 cent or 2 cents...perhaps the telephone not used as lavishly as now. (One of Connie's notes to Mom said something about taking the train out to Merrick, our town, on the coming Saturday.)

I must say I wish this were my job: to write this blog...like painting/drawing, it's a great pleasure and must be reward enough...but still, one can dream!

More coming shortly...

1 comment:

Daria said...

"Renoirs lost letters to Dorothy Kittle"! I love these posts keep them coming!