Holiday Newsletters Are Arriving – Fa la la la la!

Here they come again, cards and even better, envelopes bearing holiday newsletters and photos and tales of travels and details about what life brought and what it took away during this year that’s ending soon.

I love holiday newsletters.  I especially like the ones I receive from people with whom I don’t exchange emails all year.  Nor even phone calls. So this is often our one communication and it’s becoming increasingly important. I don’t want to lose touch with people even (especially)  if we’re not really in touch (much.) 

It’s the time of the year for looking at pictures of kids and pets and vacation spots that accompany the stories told within these one or two pages.  Stories are what I love. I even like to read newsletters with stories about people I don’t know.

 In the mail a couple of days ago, I got the newsletter written by the husband of my very first roommate.  I had the honor of being part of their wedding ceremony, back when we were  barely out of our teens. She’s always been a good communicator, so it’s a surprise that the stories of their lives during the year are told by him. It’s a side of him I hadn’t known before our paths took different directions.  I don’t know who takes the pictures that accompany the text – but maybe that’s her part of this annual mailing.

One couple I’ve known for decades – I used to babysit their young children – are now grandparents who are in such close touch with every family member, it’s a joy just to read the updates about these grown grandchildren I’ve never met. These are grandparents who can tell you about college classes and hopes and dreams and plans and romances of each of their multiple grandchildren. 

I have one grandchild – she whose photo will grace my own missives when I get them ready to mail next week – and I have to run to keep up with the goings and comings of this one little girl.  So the couple with several grown grandchildren, this family that travels from all over the U.S. and Europe  to get together each summer for several days – and then includes pictures with their mailings – they’re  my new holiday newsletter heroes this year.

Last season it seemed there was less mail, and I worried about the people who always wrote, but then stopped.  But this year, they started arriving earlier than usual, and there are more of them.  I’m wondering if maybe this tradition matters even more during a time when so many people have had to cut back on so many other things.

Keep ’em coming.  Your newsletters will all receive a glad welcome here.

© Anita Garner 2009

Our Computer Is The Family’s Scrapbook

When my granddaughter was born four years ago, I put photos of her into every kind of photo-saving device – albums, scrapbooks, Grandma’s brag book, refrigerator magnet frames, etc.  Trouble was, I took so many photos and received so many, that they started getting ahead of me.  When I want to show someone how she’s grown, most often I go for the jpg’s on the computer and attach them to an email.   It’s an extra  step to update wallet photos and to continue buying albums to put on the bookshelf, so I stopped. 

Now I have hundreds of pictures on my computer.  Lord help me if this thing ever crashes. I’m thinking I’ll get another flash drive and transfer them.  Maybe if, as soon as I put them onto my computer, I also save them to flash drive, I’ll be protected. 

My little girl was visiting me recently and she likes to watch the Windows Slideshow Screensaver.   One day I left the computer for a while and when I returned, I found her standing in the doorway reciting, as if for an unseen audience:

“My birthday party.   Skyla’s birthday.  School.  Mommy.  Abba.  Me and Hammy (that’s me).”

And on and on.  When pictures of her as an infant pop up,  she adds  a story from her imagination about what said baby in the photo was thinking, i.e. “That baby wants to ride my scooter.”  She knows the picture is of her, but she enjoys making up her “That baby” stories.

I don’t know how the sequence of slides is determined, but it seems like we get the same ones over and over for a few days and then up comes one we haven’t seen before.  I suspect when I add to my endless jpg’s from another source, they reshuffle.   I recently put in a bunch of vintage pictures.  The little one was standing behind me when a new one came up and she asked  “Who’s that?”  I told her that is her great-grandmother, that the lady in the photo onscreen is my mommy.  Then I showed her a picture of my parents together.  

Next time I found her in the doorway narrating the slideshow, she had assimilated these people (who passed away before she was born) into her performance.  She said, like a tour guide, “That’s Hammy’s mommy.  That’s Hammy’s Abba.”  Then as I walked by, she paused.  It must be a work in progress, and she wasn’t ready to reveal it yet.  Soon she’ll come up with something interesting about them and I’ll be eager to hear it.  That’s something no mere photo album can offer.

Ó Anita Garner 2009