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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Letter Writing Week

The second week in January every year is Letter Writing Week. I tend to turn it into letter appreciation week. I like to go through old letters I’ve kept (and I’ve kept most of them I’ve received) and re-read several of them at random. This week, I decided to do something a little different. I decided to re-read some of the letters I sent to others.

Back in high school, I made a cedar box during wood shop. Nobody would ever mistake me for being a carpenter though. In fact, I must not have measured something correctly because when I cut the top off the box so I could fashion it into a lid, I cut right through several dowels (which you can probably see in the picture below). Oops. But I attached some hinges and it worked anyway. Eventually I gave it to my dad. After he died in 2000, I took the box back into my possession and when I opened it I found quite a few letters—many of which I wrote. And I even found a photo of me I’d never seen before (you can probably see that in the photo below too). It’s actually a photo of my horse, Frito Bandito (who was apparently named after the cartoon mascot for Fritos during the late 1960s), and the back of my head. I’m not sure why Dad kept that particular photo in the box.

Anyway, I’ve never gone through these letters before. I pulled a few of them out and read them. I ran across this passage from a letter I wrote to Dad on September 4, 1994—I had just picked up my first Windows-based computer (before that I had a DOS-based machine):

As you can imagine, I spent the rest of the late afternoon and night figuring this new computer out. I’ll tell you, it took me four hours just to have any idea what I was supposed to be doing. Finally, I figured it out enough to begin getting into the programs and working with them. The computer came loaded with six or seven different types of software, all of which are pretty expensive if you buy them individually. This computer seems to have it all, now it is just a matter of figuring it all out. It even has America Online, Prodigy, and CompuServe. You hook these services up through your phone line and then you can access these services for a monthly service fee. I haven’t even gotten into these programs yet, nor have I looked into hooking them up through the phone, but I will.

This brings back so many memories. I really wasn’t crazy about going to a Windows-based machine. You can probably hear that in the tone of my letter. I was so accustomed to DOS. I still remember many of the commands I had to type just to get a program to open. But I could see the writing on the wall, so I took the plunge. I ended up trying AOL, Prodigy, and CompuServe. I stuck with AOL for quite a while. But even after Dad got online, we still continued to write letters. We emailed some, but the email didn’t go into the depth our letters did.

And boy am I glad.


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