View single post by susansweet
 Posted: Thu Dec 13th, 2007 05:20 pm
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Joined: Sun Sep 4th, 2005
Location: California USA
Posts: 1420

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In the 60's I wrote to three friends.  Well one was a penpal.(remember them?)  One was in college in the East , the penpal, one was in Europe studying , he ended up on the drug trail in Kabul down and out, the third was a medic in Vietnam. 

I have a box with all these letters in them.  I have always said I would love to have them published and call it  Coming of Age in the 60's .  Then penpal always typed his letters.  Every month a letter would arrive , This went on for 6 years.  The letters were always typed .  I longed for a handwritten letter from him to see what is writing looked like.  Finally as we got to know each other over the years he started writing his letters .  Those are the ones that mean the most to me.  I then knew he wrote with a strong hand. You could feel the paper where he had pressed hard while writing .  Very neatly printed in small block letters. 

I second friend as the letters continued to arrive I could see my his handwriting his descent into the drug culture at the time.  One of the last ones was written in Crayon wishing me a Merry Christmas.

The third friend started writing his letters when he was in training to be a medic.  They continued on for a while from Vietnam until he started seeing major combat.  Then the letters stopped except for a card to say he could not live in two worlds at the same time and so could not write as he could never share what he was exerienced over there.  His handwritten letters are still a treasure.  Six , seven eight pages or ramblings written sometimes while he was in a class.  Not only did he fill the pages , he would write up the side and down the other .  Evey bit of space was filled . One of his letters from Vietnam had the notes What it's like in Nam. . 1. It sucks,2. It sucks bad, 3. It sucks really bad.  Each of these lines was written a little larger. 

The good news is this man came home, married his girl friend and let a good life .  No it wasn't me.  lol.  We were just buddies.  I will tell you though he brought his wife to meet me soon after they were married.  He told her my letters and packages helped keep him going over there.  

Flash forward to today.  I could have been emailing each of these guys.  If I was I would not have seen the clues in the way the letters were written as to changes in personalities as they hand wrote their letters.  I alway felt the letters Rich hand wrote were more personal .  The ones Bobby wrote showed his descent into drugs, by the changes in his handwriting , and the using of crayon to write.  Last I heard of him he was living in an ashram in Canada. 

The penpal after six years and changes in his life from college to navy - officer on a ship, stopped writing , have no idea what happened to Rich. always wondered.  Even have tried to google his name. 

My point I guess is these letters first of all would never have been saved and printed out  if they had been emailed.   Many of them would never have been written.   Did they have the time to write them?  Not really, they took the time.  They made the time in their busy lives to write letters expressing their feelings about what they were experiencing .  I took my time to write letters back.  Sometimes I wish I had my letters too.

Emails are just not the same.  I have written old friends by email , I have had email "penpals".  I started saving their emails but never continue.  As I upgraded computers even the emails I saved disappeared.  Just not the same at all


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