In the good old days of pen and ink, my mother wrote me letters whenever I was away. Over the years she would say "I hope you're burning those letters" and I would always reply yes. Well, you may have guessed that was not the case! In fact, I kept all her letters from 1980 until her last was penned by my then sister in law, Debbie, not long before mum died of cancer.
So I dug out the box and thought I'd read just one. That letter lead to another and another and another until I couldn't bring myself to part with them. Unfolding before my eyes were not only details of my past, that I'd forgotten, but also the history of my relationship with my mum and her relationship with the family. The more I read the more I remembered as mum dutifully kept me informed of all my family's ups and downs. The clincher in keeping the letters was that it also detailed the evolution of my relationship with my partner and father to our children. I decided to keep the letters for them so they'll have an insight into their parents, a family history if you like.
I still wanted to make beads to give to the family so I selectively cut up a couple of letters, much to my daughter's horror: "I hope you've scanned those mum?" I was one step ahead of her, scanned, printed and put in date order. I gave family members the actual letters, as beads.