The family letter

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 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?


About rootietoot

I do what I can.
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3 Responses to The family letter

  1. What a fantastic idea! I don’t know anyone who does that but I might try it with my family. What a treasure.
    xo jj

    • rootietoot says:

      Here’s how it works: You have a list with everyone and their address on it.The first person on the list writes a letter, puts it in the folder and sends it all to the second person (the list is in the folder too). Then the second does the same, sends it to the third and so on until the last person gets the folder with the all the letters, writes their letter and sends it to the first person on the list. Then the first person removes their old letter and writes a new one,and put it at the back of the stack of letters. As each person gets the packet, their letter should be the one on top, they remove it, and put their new letter at the back. Each person is allowed 2 weeks to keep the packet before sending it on. Ours has a geneology in the packet, so we can see who is related to whom when the letter comes around.

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