Once a year or so, I get a fat package in the mail. It’s a folder filled with letters from members of my grandmother’s side of the family- descendents of Hugh Cunningham, my grandmother’s grandfather. Anyway, way back during World War 1, someone got the bright idea to start this family letter thing, where each person on the list writes a letter and adds it to the package, then sends it to the next person on the list. When it gets back around to you, you remove your old letter and add a new one, then send it on. At this point there’s about 40 people on the list.
The fat package came last week, and I finally had a chance to sit down and read the letters, look at the pictures, and catch up on who went to Peru, who died or was born, and who sold their house and bought an RV to travel all over the country. Mostly the people who participate are a generation older than me, but I am hoping the people in my generation (whom actually, I’ve never met) will join in. It’s been going on a long time, and I’d hate to see it peter out.
My generation and folks younger aren’t much letter writers anymore. With email, it’s become something of a quaint old thing, to actually sit down and write something, but it’s a very satisfying morning when I can sit with this fat package, a cup of hot coffee, and simply spend some time actually reading, and catching up with people. In the back of the fat package is a very orderly list of who’s who and how we’re all related. When you write the letter, you put a number behind your name (mine’s 18.104.22.168.2) that indicates where you are on the family tree, so people can place you.
Does your family have any kind of tradition of this sort? How do you keep up with the scattered cousins and seconds and thirds?