Hello amazing volunteers! Today on the blog, Anne, a Letters Against Isolation volunteer, is sharing her story! This post celebrates Anne's first anniversary as a LAI volunteer! In her blog post, she shares a personal story about why letter writing is so close to her heart!
Hello LAI Volunteers,
My name is Anne and I have been a volunteer with LAI since January 2021. I am a resident of Stamford, Connecticut but I was born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I moved up to CT to join forces with my sister Kate in retirement. Before I retired, I worked on Wall Street as a Associate Vice President in Compliance for 28 years. After the company was bought out and we were laid off, I had all these skills that I knew could be put to good use elsewhere. I repurposed my skill set and was hired as a Private School Administrator. I loved my new career working with the teachers and all the children. It was a complete and happy career change for sure. No more Wall Street for me! I hope you enjoy my journey to becoming a Letters Against Isolation Volunteer.
On one early Sunday morning, last January, I was getting ready for a cold winter day and I had turned on the TV only listening a few minutes here and there. I had it tuned to MSNBC and something caught my attention. They were showing a segment that had aired on Lester Holt's NBC Nightly News. It was about two girls from Boston who started writing to seniors in nursing homes which started as a kitchen table project inspired by their grandmother. I heard some of the report but really perked up and paid full attention when I heard they needed volunteers. I knew immediately I wanted to volunteer. I grabbed pen and pad jotting down the website and by mid morning I was signed up awaiting my volunteer number.
I wanted to share with this wonderful LAI community of volunteers my Inspiration for becoming a volunteer.
For decades my mom wrote letters to all of her cousins, Aunts and Uncles in Norway the country my mom, as an eight year old, and my grandparents immigrated from in the 1920s. As a young girl I was fascinated by all these letters going back and forth and how exciting it was when we received letters from Norway.
My mom passed at 95 years old a few years back and I found a Christmas card mom received from her cousin Bodil in Norway in 1958, the year I was born. She talks about my arrival in January and about her young daughters. My mom hadn't seen her cousin Bodil since she left for America. The cousins later, as young adults, resumed their family connection through letters during WWII. Mom would send care packages to many relatives in Norway during those years when Norway was under German occupation. She filled those boxes with children's cloths, gloves, sweaters, hats, socks, scarves. Mom used ration stamps allocated to her and my dad sending sugar and coffee too of which there was a worldwide shortage.
My mom corresponded regularly with Bodil and many other relatives for many decades. This is where I got my love of the written letter.
Every Christmas Eve we would read aloud Bodil's Christmas letter. It was the connection to Norway that was so special to us. Bodil spoke and wrote English so well, there was no need for it to be translated. unlike all the other letters from Norway.
When I was thirteen in 1971, my mom took me and one of my sisters on a long awaited trip to Norway. I met Bodil's daughters and her middle daughter, Kristin, was my age and we became good friends. When I returned to Brooklyn, keeping my promise to Kristin, we started sending letters, just like our moms. Last year, 2021, marked our 50th year of letters!!! Letter writing runs through our blood for sure. We honor our mothers with each and every letter we send.
When I found LAI, by chance, it ignited that letter writer in me. An added bonus for me was being able to put my crafting skills to work making all the cards I send, a bonus that brings me such joy!!!
Thank you Anne for sharing your story with the LAI community!
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If you are in need of some inspiration for your letters and cards, click here.