By Uncle Bill
My niece Cathy has exposed me for the fraud that I am. For years, generations in fact, I have been able to fool my family into believing I have talent. The trick has been working tirelessly on a Christmas letter each year avoiding the normal personal family news; and instead focusing on family history, or in some cases absolutly absurd stories that would be fitting of Ted from the Sally Forth comics.
I will admit to one brilliant year however. Since I am the youngest of seven children I missed a lot of earlier Christmases. So one year I interviewed all of my older siblings about their childhood Christmas experiences and put them, along with my own, into a five page Christmas letter. I mailed this out to every family member with the hope it would be a Christmas “memory” for future generations. I encourage you to do the same.
Personally it brought me understanding of life in the family before me. I knew we were among the “working poor”, but I never appreciated the sacrifices of my parents and also of my brothers and sisters. I never knew of the tool box and table my dad built for my oldest brother. And the feeling of loss when the family moved and couldn’t take it with them. It was a memory that lasted from Gene’s age of ten to his passing at seventy five. My oldest sister had no memories of the earliest years. Another sister wanted to focus only on her own children and not on herself.
But I was able to have fun with the letter too. I was able to call my other brother (Mom’s favorite) a spoiled brat, attributing the comment to one of my sisters. For everyone it brought back memories of favorite presents, simple but thoughtful; of Midnight Mass, two in the morning breakfasts and game playing with above mentioned spoiled brat.
As for writing skill, I can only say I appreciate yours, the “Pen in Hand” authors and bloggers.
Oh, by the way, I have asked family members about the letter.
No one remembers it.
(Uncle Bill writes from Seattle, Washington. His letters are still my favorite. Catherine)