There are memories so vivid of people, places, and events that I thought I could never forget them. One is when I was young and my grandparents would take me and my brother to the beach every weekend during summer vacation. We would build sandcastles while taking bites of my grandmother’s amazing homemade kimbop. We would play endlessly in the sand and boogie board in the salty water under the warm and breezy California sunshine. Another is when I was learning to drive for the first time and my grandfather thought it would be a good idea to teach me how to maneuver the car up the San Gabriel Mountains’ winding road that eventually reached an elevation of more than a thousand feet. I remember him telling me that it would be a peaceful drive among the trees; that if I could master driving this road I could drive anywhere (long story short it was not the best idea although it’s laughable now)!! These little moments of time may seem insignificant in the bigger picture of life but I think about them often when I miss my grandparents, especially my grandfather.
As the years pass, I am realizing that all those memories are becoming less and less vivid. His voice, the way he would scrunch his face and smile when I would talk to him, all his special little nuances that I thought would always be crystal clear in my mind are becoming a mirage at times. Due to my fading cranial scrapbook, I found myself searching for something tangible that I could look back on that would remind me of him. Sure, I had photos but sometimes I felt like they just looked like moments frozen in time and I longed for something more. A few years ago, I went through a box where I keep my special letters from family and friends and came across a handwritten letter from my grandfather on my wedding day. It had been safely tucked away in fear that it would somehow get lost. When I pulled it out I was immediately moved by his unmistakable beautiful script penned on his favorite plain white printer paper with the humble Bic rollerball pen he loved so much.
Looking at his unique handwriting and heartfelt words, I was immediately filled with so much emotion and love. I wonder if my grandfather knew when he was writing this letter at his little desk how much it would mean to me later on in my life. How holding this letter and seeing his handwriting would help me feel close to him whenever I missed him. Now, I always keep this precious part of my grandfather in my Traveler’s Notebook where I can take it out anytime I miss him. The very same paper that he once held with the words he had so thoughtfully scripted in his beautiful penmanship.
This inspired me to further go through my letter box and read back on some letters and postcards from friends. Some of the correspondence made me laugh while others some brought back so many forgotten memories. However, what struck me the most is how I could tell who the sender was just by glancing at the handwriting or unique nuances of the sender. The way one friend always puts an adorable very particular heart before signing her name, how another always elongates the bottom of her E’s, or the other who always sends her correspondence using only pencils. All so distinctly beautiful in their own unique ways being a tangible reminder of them and the memories we share.
What I felt in those moments substantiated why I still choose to write handwritten letters and send them off to loved ones. Lately, I have been sending postcards and letters to friends or family that might not be expecting correspondence from me in hopes that it will brighten their day! I put together a little snail mail kit with my TSL Utility Leather Pouch which has been perfect to store incoming mail in the first section, the middle section is perfectly sized for USPS postage stamp sheets, and the last section stores some postcards I can select from when I am ready to write. I have also been loving using the BK date header stamp to write the send date, or using other meaningful fun stamps, washi, and stickers to write a little thinking of you. I try to keep it simple so I never feel overwhelmed.
Memories are so impactful but with the realization that they can eventually fade, I am beyond grateful to have these one of a kind tangible pieces of my loved ones…that I can feel close to them just by simply holding and seeing the distinct ways that they cross their t’s and dot their i’s.
- Text and photos by: Eunice
BK Artifacts featured in the story:
- Traveler’s Notebook / Brown
- TSL Utility Leather Pouch
- Stamp // BK Date Header
- BK Tape No.004 // Seasons
- BK Tape No.006 // Dear Friend
- BK Tape No.016 // Daydream
- AL-star Fountain Pen // Graphite