One of my favorite things to find are old letters and pictures from eras gone by. My dream is to find a box full of old letters or even better-old diaries. I just find it fascinating to peek into someone’s private thoughts and musings…is that wrong?
One day I was shopping the book section at the Salvation Army and a yellowed letter fluttered out of an old cookbook. I quickly picked it up and tucked it into my coat pocket. The entire time I continued to shop, I thought about the letter in my pocket, waiting to be opened and read after all of these years. What sort of secrets would it reveal? What sort of sordid love letter might I find?
I left the store with a feeling of anticipation. I had barely closed my car door before I snatched the letter out of my pocket. I immediately noticed the date on the envelope was 1982 and felt disappointed. I had hoped for an old love letter, but figured a 1980’s love letter would suffice. I opened the letter and read:
Here is the recipe I promised you. I’m sending you the one I had, so you can see what it looks like. As I told you on the phone I just buy a can of mixed peas & carrots. The T.V. man just left. He had to come and take the part out, and send to Chicago to be repaired, so I’ll be without the Boob Tube for over a week. But I don’t watch it that much anyway. I8m not one of those soap opera fiends. Give me a good book and I’m happy. My neighbor & I follow Dallas & Falcon crest on Friday nights. She told me I could come over to her house tonight & watch them. But I guess you know that I’am not going to bother. Also I’am not going to rent one to the tune of $15 a day, If mine is gone for ten days that would be $15,00 dollars added to my bill & it is going to be high enough as it is. Hope you are feeling better. Be sure and let me know how you like Chicken Biscuit Stew. One thing about it it is simple to make, and does’t take much time either.
Call me later.
So it was not riveting stuff, to say the least, but I was still glad to have found it. Something about the letter just endeared me to Kate. I pictured her sitting on a stool in her kitchen, bored and irritated that the TV is broken, yet determined to keep busy.
“I know”, she thinks with a satisfied smile as she lights up another cigarette (Kate’s a smoker in my mind, I’m not sure why) “I’ll send Rose that recipe I told her about that I’m sure she’s forgotten by now. That should take up a good ten minutes!”
Things I like about this letter:
1. Kate’s typos. She was obviously on a typewriter and didn’t feel like making the corrections. She apparently had the non-pretentious kind of friendship with Rose that did not warrant a perfectly written letter.
2. The mention of “the T.V man” and sending a part to Chicago. Remember when Americans actually used to repair stuff instead of buying a bigger and better replacement?
3. The mention of Dallas and Falcon Crest. Nice!
4. The way she referred to television as the “Boob Tube.” My mom used to call it that when I was a kid, which always embarrassed me greatly. I was a big weenie; everything embarrassed me when I was younger.(my mom delighted in that and used it to her advantage).
5. The fact that Kate took the time to write her friend a letter, even though she didn’t have anything too important to say. It was just a simple act of friendship, of reaching out, of saying “I am thinking of you. Now go make some Chicken Biscuit Stew and watch you some Boob Tube!