Love Letters…

… and loved letters

Alphabetical Post L

The school year started without a lot of fan fare, but plenty to do. I will try not to dwell on my level of insurmountable “busy-ness”.

Earlier in the summer, I made a request of my siblings to take possession of the last of the “courting” letters written by my father and mother from January, 1943 to April, 1945. Currently, I have only a handful of the letters.

One of the letters…

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I first discovered these letters when we were cleaning out my parents home in April, 2008. My brother, Heir*, was in the attic of our childhood home. He discovered a box of letters and cards. As I began to peruse the box, it occurred to me that this was truly an untold story. While I knew my parents loved each other, it was hard for me, the youngest, to imagine them young and smitten, for a life filled with responsiblity had replaced many of the “wooing” ways. Because the job of cleaning out a 14 room house was a challenge, the majority of the letters went back into a box. Some are still unread.

When my sister, Susan, passed away in June, I started to think about her story and about those letters. I do not want their story to go untold , so the letters will soon be mine to read, organize, do some research, and eventually write their story. Even if my siblings are the only readers of this story, at least we will know the life before us.

Speaking of letters…every year as the school year comes to a close, I start a project with all the 5th graders. To be honest, it is a project intended to keep the students busy and engaged during the last few days in elementary school. Most of the students love this project and get very excited when it is finally their turn to get started.

The project starts with letters, specifically those cut from magazines. The students are charged with creating a collage of every student in their class. I take a class photo on the playground. During any down time on those last few days the students busily cut and paste these “loved” letters to spell names of their classmates. Most are so excited to complete the project and take it home, but often I wonder; “is it worth it” as there are times it is a battle down to the last-minute to help some students complete the keepsake. Usually, I can be heard down the halls proclaiming, “You are going to love these letters…they will hang on your bedroom wall like art for the rest of your life!”

The Hubster reads In-Fisherman and has his own Kindle... the rest are my choices.

Some of the magazines that go into creating the keepsake.

Typically, I hang my previous class project (the one I create as a model) on my classroom wall until the following spring. Rarely, does a student question the “art”.  At the end of the day on Friday, one of my colleagues had to leave immediately when the bell rang. She asked if I could take the last of her bus riders who were waiting to be called. One of her students came to me to let me know that his brother had just entered high school. I had been his brother’s teacher . The younger boy was looking around my classroom when he spotted the end of year project. He said, “Hey, my brother has that same picture hanging in his room.”

Next, one of my own homeroom students who was waiting for her bus stated the same thing about her brother. She said he yelled at her when she tried to look at it one day because he stated it was a “fragile memento”.

Finally, I have a student intern in my class. I taught her my first year of my second career. She is currently a senior in high school. She was approaching me to sign her time sheet when she overheard the two students. She said, “Oh I still have my project hanging on my bedroom wall. My friends always ask me about it. They want to know how long it took to cut out all those letters.”

To be honest, the exchange made my day.

“Loved Letters”

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It seems my labor of love has been worth it!

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

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*see Who’s Who page

8 comments

  1. Kelly L McKenzie says:

    Love this insight into you as a teacher. What a wonderful, wonderful way to spend those waning days of school. My children used to come home with tales of the movies they watched … I like this idea much better. I’m a scrapbooker and can appreciate the hours of work that goes into a project like this. How heartwarming for you to hear the comments that you did. I think that was “meant” and a sign for you to be encouraged to keep it up.
    Happy Labour Day Weekend to you. Hope it is a splendid one, Beemie.

    • Beemie says:

      I do not like down-time in school as that is when trouble occurs….one of the other reasons, I knew my students needed something more than movies. I was supposed to go to the beach, but Hermine(the hurricane) had other plans.

  2. janey says:

    Isn’t it just the best when you get feedback from them? That they truly truly enjoyed and “got something” out of what you taught them??
    I had seniors in an Adult Responsibilities class and I gave them all journals on first day of school. First 5 min of class, was always journal time. They could write one word or a story…I gave them points for each entry everyday. End of yr I gave them their journals when I handed out their caps and gowns. I cannot tell you how many times I run into former students right now who mention that journal. Some on them are now grandparents and they talk of how they re read those pages and are proud of themselves for what they accomplished and how those words sometimes inspired them to do more……! Man oh man, do I ever understand what you talk about with your letter board!

    • Beemie says:

      I still have a journal I wrote in way back in 5th grade. Mine contains lots of “goofy” entries, but it is fun to look back at my writing. What a wonderful memento for your students!

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