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  • A Box of Old Letters...
  • Post author
    Tiffany Langino

A Box of Old Letters...

A Box of Old Letters...

I was eleven years old when I found a box of old letters in a closet. Most were dated 1967, some preserved in their original envelopes, which had been opened by my father while he was stationed as an Army Captain in Korea. Some were from old girlfriends, others from cousins or former schoolmates. But the ones I found most fascinating were from my grandmother, a woman I only knew as elderly and austere. At the time I found the letters, she was in her mid-eighties and beginning to suffer from dementia and chronic crankiness. 

But the woman in the letters was vibrant, passionate, and wickedly funny. She wrote to my father about her travels to Puerto Rico and Japan. She detailed her anxiety about the coming year's presidential election and the traffic on Collins Avenue on Miami Beach, where she'd lived with my grandfather since 1950. She asked my father to bring back topaz from Korea, specifying that she wanted large pieces only, and expressed with delight that she'd appeared quite buxom in a recent photograph. ("Pictures do lie," she wrote.) 

It struck me for the first time that day that our parents age and change, and that as they do, we lose them little by little. In that box of letters, I discovered the woman my grandmother had been nearly two decades before I was born. I wished the letters had been complete. I wished there were more of them. How did she eventually feel about Nixon, or the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King the following year? How would she have chronicled the trip to South America, where her husband contracted a rare bacteria that ultimately led to his death? What advice would she have given to my father when he met my mother?

I knew then that when I had children of my own, I wanted to write them letters that would span years or decades, and that wouldn't rest haphazardly in a musty box. I would need a Letterbook. 

In 2012, I bought a lovely journal in which to start writing letters to my oldest son, Truman, who was three months old at the time. I've written him a few letters a year ever since, but it wasn't until the spring of 2016 that I realized (with baby #3 around the corner!) I could design my own journals: with thicker paper, a stunning fabric cover, and attention to the smallest details. My husband and I launched Thread Paper Goods over the summer and found some truly marvelous suppliers and partners. We hope you enjoy a Letterbook of your own!

  • Post author
    Tiffany Langino

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