Thursday, November 20, 2014

If it's in you

Dear Grandma and Grandpa

We climbed a real steep Hill. on top was a metal plate in the ground that was marked U.S.G.S. Eddy. We went to our summer place too. We had a real nice day. they caught some fish. Love, 

... me. This letter, sent to my grandparents almost too many years to count, filled a half sheet of paper and was hand printed. Our 2nd grade class had not yet been taught cursive.

At the bottom my grandma has noted: "Can you believe at 7 years? I mean of course, this good work."

The letter, and Grandma's kind writing beneath, was found when looking for a letter from an old friend which I believed I could find in a collection of saved items. 

The search brought out the folder of my oldest things, a miscellany of fading pictures, report cards and the like. It's a treasured stash because of the associations with my start in life, but a folder seldom foraged in because, quite honestly, there's too much present living to do.

I'm thankful for the thought of this old friend which caused the hunt. it didn't lead to finding her letter but it did put me in contact with this letter of mine written at the age of seven. 

When I read now the few lines set down for my grandparents there was instantaneous acknowledgement that if it's in you, you do it. And you'll do it naturally, spontaneously and repetitively.

It's been that way with me with writing. As soon as I could put pen to paper I did. I've written all my life. It's been joy and fulfillment all the way.

And dear Grandma!  A role model for mentors, she saw something in my letter and took time to remark on it. 

Making a comment or giving encouragement validates an effort. This kind of confirmation is valuable in raising up our young, and others who can use guidance and support as well. 

My grandma saw passion and an interest in things in my desire to communicate. Then she more than noted it mentally. She added her evaluation of the effort and sent the letter back to my mom.

Mom also plays a part. She kept the letter with words on it which belonged to both her daughter and her mother. At some point she gave me the letter, probably early in my married life. I took the letter and put it away.

Quite probably it tickled me then to read it before I consigned it to storage. It takes years and perspective, however, to revisit something and see it properly. 

When that time comes, often requiring the passage of time, you look at it in the light of experience and the knowledge you've gained about yourself.

The letter written at seven is the real me. It was me as a 2nd grader and will be me at seventy-seven when that time arrives.

It's a snapshot of more than the person I'd become. It's a picture of me already formed by my love for writing and a keen desire to share with others out of my chosen words. 

The seven-year-old simply awaits further shaping, which the years have come along and brought.

Ro Giencke - November 20, 2014

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