Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Some of my favorite letters


I cherish lots of letters, especially those written to me by my family, but some of my favorite letters were from people I never met and often never heard from again. They were the readers of my food column when I worked for the Lubbock, Texas, newspaper in the late 1980s, early 1990s.

Every week, I wrote a column than not only included my thoughts on a specific food topic but also the recipe requests of readers and the recipes that others sent in.

On a weekly basis, handfuls of letters arrived at the office. Sometimes they just sent in a request for an old recipe they remembered from their childhood. Other times, they included photocopies of pages from old cookbooks; sometimes the readers even sent me entire cookbooks! Most of the letters were handwritten, and often the writer sent me background about the recipe they were submitting or requesting.

I guess they were sort of like fan mail, an ego boost. And, I guess that's why they're some of my favorites!

For several years, I saved all of the letters. But, after packing them up and hauling them to one new house and then another, I eventually weeded them out to just my favorites.

My husband tells of his excitement as a kid when he found a stash of postcards that fans had sent his father, who had an East Texas radio show in the 1940s and '50s. Through the years, the postcards were lost, but Tony remembers how fascinating it was to read what others thought about his dad.

I think that's one reason I save the letters to the food editor. Maybe someday, someone will find them interesting.

I've scanned one of the letters for you to see (if you click on the letter, you can actually read it). The writer sent a recipe for coconut cake, but she delightfully told her family history behind the "Christmas cake."

Now, go write a letter!

8 comments:

Gloria Ives said...

I like the idea for this blog. I can see becoming very interesting--Interesting i the same way reading people's blogs is interesting--because letter writing reveals a lot about people, just like the self expression of blogging. I will look forward to following your progress.

Paper Girl Productions said...

o this is such a great post!

Chrisy said...

...so pleased that you kept some of these letters...what a great source of inspiration for a letter writer...and yes they will be 'found treasure' for others one day...

kim* said...

how awesome

Frenzy23 said...

The letter idea reminds me of a newspaper article I saw not too long ago. During the depression, a man who wanted to remain anonymous apparently wrote in to a local paper offering a chunk of money to anyone who needed it, and was flooded with letters of requests for the money. He kept all the letters and they remained in the family-it wasn't until very recently that it was discovered who this guy was. But his family still has all those letters, telling the stories of people and families struggling through that time.
That's why handwritten letters matter. They stand the test of time, and the people who write them will be remembered.

Carol said...

Your blog is great...and this post is just wonderful!! I'm glad I found you!!

meego said...

Your idea is great that I want to follow; to write on everyday. Will see whether I really can do in this way.

joannaphotography said...

Such a nice stories, both your and that lady's from her letter!

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