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Scrapbook of old letters a great idea

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Updated: July 24, 2014 7:17PM



Dear Abby: May I comment about the question from “Unsure in the West” (April 6), who wanted to create scrapbooks out of all the cards and letters she received over the years? My generation (30s) is all about social media. “Unsure” mentioned that all the items she wanted to include were pre-Facebook. I am a bit old-fashioned (or maybe stubborn) so I don’t do Facebook or Twitter, and I don’t understand the importance of a “hashtag.” I have no idea how to Skype, nor do I pay my bills online.

I think the scrapbook idea is wonderful. There is something special about having tangible items to go along with important milestones and memories. Even if the gifts themselves don’t strike a chord with her friends, surely the consideration and time she puts into the scrapbooks will make her loved ones realize how important they are to her. I say, proceed with confidence. Your friends are lucky to have you.

— L.K. in the Midwest

Dear L.K.: Like you, readers overwhelmingly support “Unsure” in her efforts to create scrapbooks of memories for her friends. Read on:

Dear Abby: I have also saved cards, letters, wedding photos and pictures of newborns, etc., for several decades. A few years ago, I simply returned them to the people who sent them. Nearly all of the recipients squealed with delight as they thanked me, having realized I had gifted them with “time capsules” of their lives. Only one friend was offended that I had returned her items. She said she was “appalled” that I didn’t cherish them myself. The joy expressed by the others superseded the angry friend. “Unsure,” return those items to the senders!

— Linda in Indiana

Dear Abby: I did the same thing with photos. But instead of returning them to the person(s) who gave them to me, I gave them to the children who were pictured in the photos. Others I saved and presented to the now-grown child’s spouse as a wedding gift. So far, they have been well-received. Most people are surprised to learn that I actually kept all these photos of them or their children for so long and appreciated the effort I put into the scrapbooks.

— Memory Keeper

Dear Abby: I am not a crafter and I’m not very sentimental. I don’t enjoy what I consider clutter. As I’ve grown older, I have done my best to pare down and eliminate things I no longer have use for. I have embraced technology. If “Unsure” were my friend, I would appreciate it more if she scanned anything she wanted to give back to me. Either way, I would probably view the scrapbook or e-book, and then deep-six it after the viewing. It crossed my mind that perhaps “Unsure” is cleaning out, and this is her way of getting rid of her “clutter.”

— Maureen in Florida

Dear Abby: Yes! Bundle and return the cards and letters with a note about what the correspondence has meant to you over the years. As a young adult, I lived all over the world and frequently wrote my friends and family about my life and what I was experiencing. Over the last few years I have received bundles from my mother, my sister and a friend — all letters they had hung onto for 20 to 30 years. What a surprise and a joy. Reading these old cards and letters gave me a window into a world that no longer exists, and reminded me of who I was then and what my life was like. Yes, please give back the correspondence.

—Marianne in California



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