Monday, June 1, 2009

I'll bet you can't guess what I did today...

So, I have finally started working on my transcription project. Actually, I've been "starting" for over a year, but I've finally made a bit of headway. The project involves organizing and transcribing a collection of letters written by my Grandparents to each other during WWII. My Grandfather, Ben, entered the war in March of 1942 and didn't return home until 1945. According to my Grandmother, Carmella, she wrote him a letter every single day that he was away. He wrote her nearly every day as well. Those letters have been stored up in the attic of the family home, and I decided that it was time for them to be organized and preserved. I hope to be able to store each of the letters in an acid free plastic sleeve, though the volume may make this a bit cost prohibitive.

In organizing the letters, I discovered that I have only the first few months of correspondence, from March to June, 1942. In fact, throughout the entire duration of these letters, my Grandfather was still in training - he hadn't even left the United States yet! I can see that this will be a looonnng project. But, I have a feeling it will be rewarding as well.

The
first letter that I worked on is from Carmella to Ben; in fact it is eight days worth of letters in one, as at the time of writing she didn't have an address to send it to, so kept adding to the letter each day. The letter itself chronicles the day of a 22 year old wife in 1942... her new job, gossip from the neighbors, news on the war, sweet sentiments to her husband (they had only been married a year and a few months). My favorite exerpt from the letter , however is as follows:

Honey, I’ll bet you can’t guess what I did today. I started a new hobby – collecting salt and pepper shakers. The Scott Store was having a special sale on them 5¢ a pair, so I bought 9 different pair. You know I’ve often mentioned I’d like to start – well I have.

This wouldn't mean much to most people, but my Grandmother was a collector and that is how I remember her. It made me smile to see that she was at it already, even at age 22. Even better, her salt and pepper shaker collection grew to close to 100 sets. Just a few months ago, I sorted through what's left of the collection and picked out a few for my kitchen to remind me of her... some penguins, a chef and his wife, colorful birds, a toadstool and frog. Whenever I see salt and pepper shakers at antique stores, I think of my Grandma... and I know that her love of collecting has influenced me as well...

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