Ask Amy: Letters should go to the archive, not the shredder

Dear Amy: My mother is 90 years old and is now considering shredding letters from our dad that he wrote to her before they were married. Dad was in the Navy.

My sisters and I would like to keep them when she is gone.

She reread all 174 letters recently and said there was nothing racy in them, so why not keep them for us?

What is your opinion on this?

— Upset Daughter

Dear Daughter: My opinion is that these letters — and any letters from anyone of this era — would be wonderful to have and to read.

Because of her own perspective, your mother might not quite grasp that even quotidian accounts of life from 70 years ago would be of interest to people today.

Naturally, you and your sisters would be interested in accounts of your own early lives and the comings and goings of long-gone relatives, but it would also be cool to read about something as ordinary as, “I’ve been thinking about getting one of those Philco television sets,” or, “I can’t believe gasoline costs 30 cents a gallon!”

Accounts of people serving in the military add another dimension to the importance of these letters.

Researching your question, I read a story in Smithsonian Magazine about a remarkable man named Andrew Carroll and his heroic effort to found the “Million Letters Campaign,” with the goal to collect one million letters from military members for the Center for American War Letters at Chapman University (search for the center at

Helped along through advocacy from my esteemed and legendary fellow advice-giver “Dear Abby,” this center has collected thousands of first-person military accounts of war and peacetime. Each letter is read and archived by staff members.

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Perhaps in celebration of Veterans Day this year, people will be inspired to open that suitcase, shoebox, or plastic bin — and read, re-read, scan, and donate these important slices of history.

I hope your mother will respond to your desire to share this history with her.

Dear Amy: I have been in a relationship with “Bret” for over five years.

Bret moved in with me after about six months.

We used to talk about marriage and the future. Now we just do chores and yard work. We both went to school during this time and for the past three years I have been working a lot of hours.

Bret is very helpful with things around the house. He pays for almost everything.

However, I want to …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle


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