Occaisonally, there's a surprise package in the P.O. Box. Sometimes, out-of-the-blue, one of my pen pals gets a wild hair and sends me something bulkier than a letter. I've gotten all kinds of things from very generous people. One of those things was this book, Women's Letters, edited by Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler. Katherine of the weather vane stamps story sent it to me. She'd found a copy and thought I might like one as well. Too right she was!
This book is over 700 pages of women's personal correspondence. From the Revolutionary War through 2005, these letters show us our history through another perspective- that of everyday life. These women, from all races and backgrounds, lived through these events. It is one thing to learn in school that Paul Revere sent warning of the British Invasion by lantern lights, it is another to read the anxious words of his wife, trying to send him aid. It makes it all that much more real and incredibly facsinating.
I'm writing about this book on the 4th of July, Independence Day for our American readers. I can honestly say that I am more touched by what this day stands for after reading the experiences of the women who lived through those times that granted us the freedoms that we appreciate and still fight to maintain today.
Women's Letters (and the first book by this editing pair, Letters of the Century) illustrates perfectly the need to keep the art of correspondence alive. We need voices to reach across the years, not just a string of facts and dates. Without social context, what does any of it really mean? So write those letters and keep them well. They may be the only human link to our collective past one day.