When I was seventeen my best friend and her family moved from the United States to a village in Hungary. I lived with my parents and three younger siblings on a farm in the Midwest. I was home-schooled for much of high school. We had no computer. I learned to cope with loneliness by reading and writing letters. I now have our complete correspondence in my possession. I'll share a few snippets from letters with you now. You can read another post about these letters here.
Dec. 6, 1993
I really had you on my mind last night. I lied awake in the dark for two hours before falling to sleep. I hope you are doing well. I miss you terribly.
It is very gray here. My sister and I got up and took a walk this morning. It is safe to do so now that gun season is over. Three cute little puppies followed us for a long time. The wind was mean. It cut at my face and caused my ears to throb. The puppies were so brave as they walked with us. Their fur flew back and they had to squint their eyes.
We put up our Christmas tree last week. To save money, we used a fake one that my Aunt Debbie got out of the garbage last year. Along with our normal decorations we added strings of popcorn. It looks beautiful . . .
Dec. 13, 1993
The other day I went to the library and checked out a book about Hungary. It has a nice map in the back. In your next letter, could you please send the map that I have enclosed back to me. I would love to know where Sulysap is. Please circle it on the map . . .
. . . I dream about going to Scotland someday. Want to come along? How fun it would be to climb a heather hillside and have another special picnic! -- Except this one would be spread out on a Tartan blanket. Imagine exploring a seaside town or a castle! Imagine listening to the bleating of sheep or the music of bagpipes. To experience Scotland with all the senses would be such an adventure!
. . . Right now everyone is gone for various reasons. I have the entire evening to myself. I cannot think of a more enjoyable way to spend this time than by conversing with you . . .
. . . I know many people don't believe in making New Year's resolutions, but I always do. I have pulled out my resolutions from last year. It's funny to recall how most of them have been broken. Here's my favorite: "I will eat 52 sweets." -- HA! HA! Yea, right! More like 552!
. . . The saying on my desk easel for today is sort of dry (a bit like, "Friends, unlike fashions, should never change." How much thought went into that?) So I have decided to send you the saying for Dec. 11 instead:
"Tell me how much you know of the sufferings of your fellow men and I will tell how much you have loved them."That all I'll share for now -- though I've only shared portions of two letters, and I have stacks of them!
~ Helmut Thielicke
Have you saved any old letters from the days before email?
Peace & Joy,