What does a writer like to do? Write of course. But every now and then the path takes a turn unexpected. For me this week, my road to writing has taken a side street in connection with my oldest grandson, Michael. He’s not quite ten and having some struggles with school work. His teacher suggested having a pen pal might be a good way for him to become familiar with writing structure. She’s had some success with other students using this idea.
So I was truly honoured when Michael’s mother approached me to see if I’d be interested in becoming Michael’s pen-pal. Would I? What a terrific idea. Even though we live in the same part of town this could still be fun. So I began watching the mail box for his first letter. A few days passed and I began to wonder if I was supposed to send the first letter. Checked with his dad, my son, and no, Michael was working on a comic strip that he wanted to send. It was almost done and would soon be in the mail.
Today it arrived, addressed to Nana Lindsay. Couldn't believe how excited I was to open this up and see what the envelope held. A notebook page entitled Best of Food Friends, with a comic strip detailing an adventure between an egg yolk and a pickle. Good imagination and it’s still making me smile.
When was the last time I actually put pen to paper and wrote a longhand letter? Usually I’ll whip up a letter on the computer and print out and off it goes. But this called for a much more personal touch, so I started printing, and keeping in mind I'm corresponding with a ten year old. The process led to memories surfacing. Of having pen-pals in grade school; at one point I had two at the same time. A girl in France with whom we took turns writing in both French and English, and also a boy in Scotland. Ironically his name was Jamie! I had totally forgotten about that experience.
Not that I’m about to start writing anything Jamie Tremain in long hand, but the process forced me to really think about what I was writing and not just key words as fast as I can think them. So I’ll have to thank Michael for this little side benefit.
Who knows how many letters we’ll exchange, or if this idea will fizzle, but for now I’m quite excited to continue sending letters and will work to make them interesting and at the same time hoping he’ll also be learning a little about grammar and sentence structure along the way. And I’ll gladly write to the rest of my grandchildren as they get a little older if the desire is there. If you have grandchildren, nieces or nephews, I’d recommend this exercise – its sure to benefit all involved and strengthen bonds and create some special memories.