Readers' Questions

Exactly how many letters are in the collection?

My best estimate would be about 1800 letters in envelopes, plus many other notes and postcards which I haven't counted.

How do you know the exact date the letters were written?

I use the postmarks on the envelopes as the date of the blog entry, and my mom wrote the weekday in the top right-hand corner of every letter.  Letters were almost always written on a Saturday.  

Are the stamps still on the envelopes?

Yes.  So far, many of the envelopes have been pre-stamped and only a few commemorative stamps were used.  The letters from Japan were written on very thin airmail paper or folded aerogrammes which of course are pre-stamped.

Are the letters pictured anywhere on the blog?

Yes, each time my parents changed addresses, I included an image of the envelope with the new return address.  Additionally, there is a photograph of the first decade of letters on the following post: 

Have you read all of the letters?

No.  I try to read ahead about a year at a time to anticipate which photos I'll use and which keepsakes I might need to photograph.  I am updating posts all the time as I locate old photos or as I need to remove a photo I learn has been posted prematurely or in error.   

Do you edit the letters?

On occasion I have made very minor edits.  For example,  I might correct a misspelled name that I know has been spelled accurately in other letters.  Otherwise, I leave them as is.  However, if I ever came upon a comment which I know my mother would not have wanted to be made public, I would consider leaving it out.  As of yet, that has not happened.  She was always diplomatic and kind.

Did your dad also write home weekly?

Yes, he did!  I would love to have those letters, but they are long gone.

Did your parents save the letters your grandparents wrote back?

No, unfortunately not.  The one exception is the letter my grandmother wrote about the death of President Kennedy, which I have and will post when the time comes.

Do you have a favorite letter?

Not really, although the letters written during the war years were the most interesting and informative to me. 

How do you store the letters?

In archival materials in order to preserve them as a collection.

Do you always have a photo to go along with every letter?

Not always.  Most of the letters however will reference an object, person, place or event that is easily researched if I don't have a relevant image.  I also have a large collection of old magazines and I use them as resources.


  1. I have enjoyed this blog immensely, especially the letters from Japan. I lived in Japan as an American teenager about ten years after your family did. Form the descriptions and photos it had not changed much.

    Your blog captures the eras perfectly and reads like the popular serials of the time. I find myself awaiting the joys, trials and tribulations of you and your relatives.
    Thank you so much!


  2. Hello, Tom. Thank you for your comments and I'm delighted that you are enjoying the letters! I'm really grateful that my grandmother (and mother) kept the letters and I've learned a lot from them! My favorites are from the 40s and the Japan letters.

    I have just returned from Japan, having gone for the 125th anniversary of the university where my dad taught in 1953-54. My family donated the collection of kodachrome slides that Dad took while we were there and I was amazed at how many things seemed unchanged. I took many pictures that ended up looking like they'd been taken in the 50s!

    Thanks again for your thoughtful comments and I hope you continue to enjoy the letters.


I welcome your comments!