Letters From The Edge

*cue Alice Cooper music*

What a weird week it has been; not really in a bad way, but in a what day is it again kind of way. In addition to the very weird half-day/ no school/ last day schedule, I had ten yoga classes to teach, and I spent much of the week reminding myself of the day. I swear I thought it was Wednesday twice and Friday three times, and now it IS Friday, so whee! School’s out for summer! As I write this it is 6:30 am and I have a cardio workout on the books and a class to teach but you can bet that when those things are finished there will be alcoholic drinks involved. Many alcoholic drinks. 

The weirdest part of the week was Wednesday, which was a PD day. Wednesday, the day before the last day of school. Doesn’t that strike anyone else as very weird? Why not just finish on the Wednesday, you might be asking, as I was. Well, it is in the past now, and let’s just keep moving.

Four years ago, my parents moved out of the city permanently, and they gave me a number of boxes that they had been keeping in storage for me, ever since I moved out of the house in 1998. I went through a couple of them and found some weird knitted childhood dolls, my old Care Bear (Cheer Bear!), a framed picture of young Elvis, some scrapbooks of the Royal Family, and, best of all, a letter from the Corey Hart Fan Club. Mostly, though, they were filled with junk that I recycled or trashed or – in the case of the weird knitted dolls – gave to my niece. I swear she liked them!


I did keep my Cheer Bear, for nostalgia’s sake.

*screams like a 1964 Beatles’ fan*

What I’m trying to say is that THESE were the childhood treasures I kept, which says something, I think. Something not great about my childhood treasures.

Anyway, once I had gone through two of those boxes – in 2014 – I got a little tired. I think maybe I was running a book fair, and it was almost Christmas, and so I thought I would deal with the other boxes later. I put them in my garage and promptly forgot about them. Well, I didn’t really forget about them, but years went by and they just became part of the garage landscape. I figured that they contained just more of the same, how shall l say this, unimportant things that were destined for the landfill. Sure, it was fun to imagine my husband’s reaction if I hung the Elvis picture above our marital bed, and sure, it was fun to read a mimeographed letter from Corey Hart about the Everything In My Heart video, but really. So years went by and I averted my gaze when I looked at the boxes. There just never seemed to be a good time to go through them, and also my husband mentioned that he hoped a mouse didn’t make its way in to live out its final moments; so on top of lazily not wanting to go through a box, I was concerned I would find a mouse corpse and subsequently would never stop screaming, until I myself followed in the mouse’s tiny footsteps.

This past weekend things came to a head. We need more garage space. My husband bought a lawnmower specifically for the boys; his lawnmower is a top-of-the-line, gigantic, self-propelled one that is absolutely impossible for anyone other than his muscle-bound self to use. Think about this: we have boys who are fourteen and almost thirteen, and my HUSBAND is mowing the lawn. This, I think you’ll agree, is tragic. Things are changing this summer, with the purchase of a much-smaller and not-self-propelled mower. We are now sauntering down Easy Street, people!

I say “we” but in reality, the number of times I’ve mowed a lawn can be counted on one hand.

In any case, with two lawn mowers, and space at a premium, I decided to finally go through the boxes in the garage. And let me tell you, it was amazing. They were chock-full of treasures: my childhood sticker album, with many scratch-and-sniffs, every Girl Guide badge I had earned, more Princess Diana scrapbooks, a box set of Sweet Valley High – expect some book reviews in the near future, what DID happen when Elizabeth broke the rules and rode on a motorcycle? Stay tuned – and this, from my candy-striping days:

More importantly, though, the boxes had stacks and stacks of letters. Apparently I had kept every letter ever written to me, and so I have letters from my grandma dating from 1984 to the late nineties, from camp friends, from pen pals, from far-flung cousins. And let me tell you, they are a hoot! Except for the ones from Grandma, almost every single letter is about a) the classes we liked, or, alternately, hated, b) boys we liked, or, alternately, broke up with, c) extra-curricular activities and the awards we gained from them. Sure, there was the occasional tidbit about things going on in the world, like activities pursued during summer/ Christmas holidays, or when my cousin/ pen pal from California wrote about an earthquake, but mainly it was “Are you still going out with X? Y and I broke up.” The letters were all written on stationary, usually embellished with teddy bears or hearts. It reminded me that Grandma gave me stationary for Christmas every year. Is that a hint, Grandma? If it was I guess I took it to heart, given all the letters.

There were also a number of notes from junior high friends, written surreptitiously during class time, exclusively written on foolscap. The theme of the letters was also largely boys, but also about how boring the class was and how mean our parents were.

It made me think a lot about how times have changed – I mean, letters? Who writes letters anymore? Now we just email, text, and – for us long-winded people – blog. It’s kind of sad; it was a little slice of my life, one that I had kind of forgotten about. I used to tie up the phone for hours, and spend time writing letters, and these days teenagers just text each other and like Instagram photos. Well, turn, turn, turn, and all that. I don’t want to be one of those In My Day people, but having those letters to read over has been really wonderful.

In any event, here we are at the long weekend, I hope you all enjoy it very much! xo


  1. I have some Memory Boxes I’m procrastinating going through, but this is encouraging.

  2. The last Box Of Paraphernalia I opened (also for Garage Space reasons) belonged to my husband and turned out to contain an entire set of Ghostbusters action figures and their firehouse/ghost storage space. The box and its contents are still in our garage.

    It really is a treasure that you have all those letters! I remember writing so many letters — mainly to friends while I was on vacation and to my lone camp boyfriend — and I wish I had kept the replies! Maybe there weren’t any??? I do recall some correspondence with my grandmother, who would send my letters back, with corrections in red pen. Yes.

  3. I love writing letters, I now have penpals in Dubai, the UK, Uganda, and if course our own home country Canada. I will have to start writing you letters!

  4. I have boxes of old letters in my basement, too.

    When Noah was younger we were using a very light reel mower, so he’s been pitching in with mowing since he was ten. Several years ago we switched to an electric mower, which does a better job but is heavier, too heavy for North (who’s small for twelve) to handle. I’m hoping to be able to hand over some of the mowing to them someday, though, because I still do most of it.

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