I get a lot of email. Yesterday I got over 80 messages in my gmail box (which is actually 5 accounts that come into one “box”). I have not checked other email accounts, but I imagine that yesterday I received well over 100 emails in all of my accounts together — closer to 200 if you include the account that houses emails from freecycle and DC Web Women lists.
In a typical week I receive maybe one personal email (not counting work emails or the emails that alert me to comments on my blog or emails from the email lists I manage asking how to do this or that). Sometimes I get a little annoyed that of all those emails none is directed personally to me. None ask how I am or what I’ve been up to. But then how many of those emails do I send out myself? Um… None?
So I was surprised and delighted when I received three personal emails yesterday all from women who have been important parts of my life.
The first email arrived around 8:30 am and was from a woman who was the principal at a school where I taught when we first moved to the DC area. She left the area, but we kept in touch for a few years. We lost touch for a while but Linked-In got us back in touch. The years I worked at her school were the best years in my teaching career. She was a wonderful principal and I’m glad she is working as a principal again. I’m envious of the teachers who work with her.
The second email was even more of a surprise, but should not have been since I’d sent an email to this person a few days ago. It was a surprise because more than half of me thought I would not get a response and as the days went by I expected a response less and less.
The email was from a woman who was my roommate when I first moved out of my parent’s house. I was a late bloomer, so that was when I was 23 or so. Maybe 24. She and I met in 1974 — she was a Jeremy’s schoolmate and friend. We were pen pals during the time Jeremy and I were a “couple” and after we broke up this woman came to the US for a visit. She liked it so much she came back as soon as she could and moved into an apartment with me on Mosley Street in Elgin. We had a bit of a rough time — I wasn’t used to roommates. I was envious of her blond hair, beautiful face and ease with other people. We parted on bad terms sometime early in 1980 and never spoke again.
Well, through a series of fortunate events (and my superior stalking research skills) I was able to obtain her email address (from her brother) and wrote her a brief and apologetic email on February 12.
She wrote me that she’d also been thinking about me and that she was happy that I found her and would like to keep in touch. She also mentioned she was in the hospital and had come close to not making it a few days ago. I pray for her speedy recovery. I still can’t believe we’re in touch again.
The third email was not really a surprise at all, because I’d emailed the sender yesterday morning. She was a neighbor when we lived in Alexandria and one of the few people I feel completely at ease with. I wish we’d see each other more often, but it just doesn’t happen.
Keeping in touch is something I used to be much better at. I used to have at least 3 pen pals at a time. Writing letters was a high point in my day. I rarely write letters anymore — finding addresses, putting stamps on them and sending them just seems too much bother. I’m better with emails but I don’t always remember to follow through. I’m going to try to remember my joy at receiving the 3 emails yesterday and be more conscientious about emailing people I care about more often. I might even write a real letter now and then.
[Update: The English friend is out of the hospital and at home. The clot was dissolved.]