For Posterity

I have been asking some of my correspondents why they write letters. When I ask that question I usually offer one of my own reasons. One recent answer was to give an enduring blessing. My heart is warmed when I receive letters and I hope my letters have the same effect on others. As I offered that reason I was imagining my friends' grandchildren reading through their grandparent's collection of letters, catching a glimpse of a previous day and generation. I thought of my own grandchildren (I do hope they'll be born one day) and imagined them going through my own stack of letters. Many of those letters are a correspondence between their grandfather and I. The unique thing about that extended conversation is the fact that both ends of the discussion have been preserved. With most conversations, my participation will be lost, only to be hinted at by an occasional reference.

I have written letters to my children and need to write more. Thinking beyond my children to their children, I realized that I could actually write letters to my grandkids. Maybe such letters could be written in my journal; It'll eventually end up in the grandkids' hands anyway, assuming it survives. What should I say to them? If I think about what I wish I knew about my grandparents and what their hopes were for me I will find plenty to write about. Such letters are the kind of inheritance I would like to have received from my grandparents and they are part of the inheritance I mean to pass on to my children and to theirs.

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