It is a amazing what over 100 years of letter-writing can reveal about a person. In a tribute to my still-living 105-year-old Grandma, Kora, I am writing a book about her life, both from a biographical perspective and from an inspirational perspective. The years she has had in her life and the life she has injected into those years can provide an abundance of wisdom for us all. In fact, just this past weekend while I was visiting her, she began a statement with most amazing four words I have ever heard: “When I get old…”
Grandma has always been a letter-writer. Back in the day, it was “cheaper than a phone call,” and she would write small and deliberately all over the page, around the sides, and onto the backside, filling up as much space as possible. She would even continue her pontifications on the outside of the envelope once the letter was sealed inside! She would write about her day, her demands, what she ate, her demands, her upcoming plans, her demands, etc. She expected the same from the recipient in return. In fact, if one ever sent to her a birthday card or Christmas card that did not have a lengthy letter tucked in the inside, she would either throw it away or send it back. As for me, I always had to make sure I drew a cute cartoon or smiley face at the end of mine. At age 46, I still do that in correspondence to her! She lets me know if I ever forget, too!
Fortunately, many of these letters have been saved over the last century. I am developing my book and its chapters around these letters and am calling the book, “Koraspondence,” as a tribute to her. The story is like “Marley and Me,” without the tail, but with all of the mischief. I do see it on the big screen one day soon!
Below is a copy of a letter from Kora to her husband, Lloyd, written when she was 22 years old. They had just gotten married, and my grandfather, a new pharmacist at the time, was doing an internship at a pharmacy in Ponca City, Oklahoma. My grandma stayed behind in their small hometown for a bit to finalize plans to move everything to be with him. These loving letters were exchanged during the time they were separated.