Today I got to looking through a bunch of old correspondence from my school days. Yes, those oh so many many years ago. Not just back when people the world over used to correspond via handwritten letters, I mean back when we used to write notes to each other – even when we were going to see each other within the hour or we were actually sitting across from each other while writing.

I’m sure that today those notes have been completely supplanted by text messages. And I’m equally sure that today the word “notes” probably only refers to something you attach to your Facebook page, not to those short dispatches written on a piece of scrap or notebook paper carefully folded to conceal the writings inside from the prying eyes of potential unintended recipients, or sometimes even on note cards in their own little envelopes.

First of all you have to marvel at the sheer prolific nature of all these writings. There is a ton of it. An entire banker’s box. All written in longhand. No keyboards of any kind were used here. And full English words are used (no text abbreviations). OK, so it wasn’t all dictionary perfect, after all, we were kids. But we were trying to be so grown-up and we even over-formalized some of these writings with salutations and flourishes. As if they were precious scripts to be kept through history. And, indeed they were, because all these years later I still have them. 

These were extremely important communiques, messages like:

“I love Joan and tell her please” 

I have no recollection of any person named Joan!

How about cryptic ones like this:

“Please read the other note”

What other note? What did the other note say? We’ll never know – the facts being relegated to history and this cryptic missive the only residue of whatever critical information was contained in the so-called “other note.”

And then there are those silly notes that only adolescents can possibly take seriously – and we did:

“Guess who likes me now?”

The idea then being to circle one out of the four names written underneath, one of which was Yogi Bear. Who probably also had kooties.

Or the notes upon which all your future happiness rested:

“Job doesn’t know if he likes you or not. But most likely he hates you. Well isn’t class boring.”

Nice segue, huh? Very smooth. Job, if you are reading this, I didn’t mean to drag you into my blog madness, but, hey, there you were. You didn’t write this one, so no need to feel outed in any way.

Folks, Job was my very first boyfriend, and also my very first kiss and now possibly my oldest friend. It was a relationship fraught with verbal sparring and what we thought was witty repartee, as in this note from him (sorry Job but your father should have taught you never to commit anything to paper…..):

I  will not talk to you again. 

When you talk to me then I might talk back.

Love,

Job

That he signed with love is the true measure of the boy. So no matter how angry he was at me, apparently he still “loved” me.

People, we were 12 and 13. This was serious stuff!

So do any of you still have a cache of precious notes from those early years? Do they make you laugh, do they make you cry, do they just make you cringe or do they fill you with the warm and fuzzies?

More importantly, do any of you know who Joan is or what was in that other note?

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