When my mother passed away in early 2008, I was left with all her earthly belongings. Fortunately, for me, she lived in a 650 square foot, 1 bedroom apartment. Everything she owned fit comfortably in a 10×10 storage unit.
And there it sat, for 5 long years, in an old blue Sterilite® plastic storage bin, a 1-page, single-sided letter, with the most current school photographs of my 2nd cousins, taped to the back. When I say “current”, I’m referring to the 1968-69 school year, current.
As fascinating as the photos are, the content of this communication has given me a great sense of pride for the paternal side of my existence. The Selkirk side. Yes, I am related to Alexander Selkirk, (a.k.a. Robinson Caruso), and my roots are firmly planted in Scotland, but what enthralls me most about this letter; the candid look at what happened to my aunt’s immediate family that year…
From the death of a child, a terrible blizzard, and spreading illness; to fabulous trips, a political win, and a Nixon speech, this letter, sent to my mom, is a piece of American history. Life in 1968 was “disconnected”, in the best possible way.