After Jack died, I found a way to save all his e-mail. I especially wanted the e-mails he had sent. He used to reread his own e-mails, and I wanted to be able to do that as well, just as a way to “hear” his voice.
In fact, it took more than a year before I began to go through the e-mails, copying them into files according to who they were sent to. Most of them are to me; to our daughter, Christie; to a friend he often went to the movies with; and to his brother and his uncle in Kansas. I didn’t think I would find any secrets, and so far I haven’t. But I have found e-mails that have given me just what I want.
For instance, we were members of the Museum of Modern Art. In April 2010, I e-mailed him to ask whether he got the MoMA members’ preview notices. He replied, “I do not. Just another example of me being a second-class citizen.” But his final comment in this thread can’t be reproduced here. It made me smile, as it was almost our own secret language, but in these days of school shootings, it would look like very poor taste.
Do you have family jokes or comments that you can’t repeat to anyone else because they might sound harsh or cruel, when you know they aren’t?
I’m participating in the 11th annual Slice of Life Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers. This is day 11 of the 31-day challenge. It’s not too late to make space for daily writing in a community that is encouraging, enthusiastic, and eager to read what you have to slice about. Join in!