My husband and I both turned 50 last year. We joined the club. And for those of you approaching this mid-century milestone, it’s not so bad. Really. We have half of our lives left, if we are lucky. That’s my point of view. Not that half of it is over, but we half left. When I’m awake at 3:00 a.m. it’s one of the things I think about. How to make a difference this next leg of the journey.
Getting a gift for my husband is always a challenge so I decided to make him a book of memories filled with handwritten letters from people who have been special to him over the years. I wrote and called many old friends and family and asked them to write a memory or a story or just a birthday wish. My caveat was that it had to be handwritten. We are losing so much of our connection to each other and to our histories by not writing letters or other kinds of correspondence by hand anymore. All but one person complied and he was in New Zealand, so I accepted an email from him. His brother was certain he couldn’t think of a thing to write. He called me twice for coaching. He wrote 5 precious pages. That’s the gift, really. The memories and sentiments committed to the page by the hand of the sender. Gives me goose bumps.
For those of you around 50 years old (or older), you’ll most likely remember when the tiny Apollo 11 space craft landed on the moon in 1969. It fired our childhood imaginations and for a generation of young boys (mostly), it was a thrilling recognition that so much was possible. So the cover features a big ‘ol full moon, my husband’s muse for all these years.
I made the book with pages that fold out so envelopes with letters could be hidden and tucked into the flaps.
You turn the page and another story pocket appears. My husband was a paramedic in his younger days and his buddies had many funny stories of their rescues and antics.
More friends with stories.
His mother had saved his grade school pictures which I made into an age progression grid. Like my brother, he wore the geek identifying black glasses.
I really liked this quote by Arthur C. Clark about the space program and it’s impact on our generation.
Some of our dear babysitters have moved on to have families and children of their own. On the right, a friend with a birthday cake full of wishes.
The kids got in on it too. And there is a pocket for my letter, which, of course, hasn’t been written yet. Too much to say.
I think he was very surprised and touched by all the people that took the time to write and remember him.
Think about sending a handwritten letter to someone you love. Just thinking about the delight at the mailbox is worth the time it takes to write.