Friday, February 26, 2010

Circle Letters

Several times a month an envelope filled with letters would arrive and Mom would take a few moments to read all of then before continuing with her work. She was a member of numerous circle letters. One of them was for all her Mast girl cousins close to her age, another one was for her siblings, several others were for some of her school friends, and a variety of others. And hardly a Sunday afternoon or evening passed that she didn't have to write a letter for one of the circle letters.

I dreamed of the day I would be old enough to be in a circle letter. Mom told me I would have to be able to write well before I could join one so when ever I had spare time in school I would often write a letter to Mom and Daddy or my Grandparents.

I kept hoping that Mom would announce that I was ready to join a circle letter but she didn't say anything about it and I knew it was useless to beg for one. But on the morning of my tenth birthday as I came into the kitchen I noticed a gift bag beside my plate on the table. I hurried over to see what I had received. The first thing I found was a box with three of the cutest little "dishes" that I would use to keep my pins in since I now wore cape dresses regularly.

I was thrilled with them, but the next packet I found I could barely contain myself with joy of having one of my most cherished dreams realized. There was a tablet of paper, a box of envelopes,  a book of stamps, and a pretty piece of paper that Mom had written Address Sheet along the top and the numbers from 1 to 10 written along the side. I quickly sat down and carefully wrote my name and address beside the 1 and then entered names and addresses of several cousins and best friends in the remaining slots.

That day in school I wrote my first letter for a circle letter, and mailed it the next day. Several weeks later I received an envelope nicely fat from being filled with letters from nine of my friends. I read everyone's letter and removed the letter I had written and put it into a box to keep like Mom always did with her letters and then quickly wrote a new one so it would be ready to mail the next day. Years passed and I joined lots of other circle letters but none of them were ever as exciting as the first one I had.

The first one is still going in it's journey from house to house and I find it quite entertaining to go back and read all the letters I wrote from the day I turned ten up to a few years ago.

38 comments:

  1. Following you from the Friday Follow!

    http://stacievaughansblog.blogspot.com/

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  2. This is so neat. I had never heard of a circle letter. I had pen pals. I had one pen pal that I found in a magazine and then one day in college a girl came up to me and said "you and I were pen pals - I remember your name". She introduced herself and sure enough - we had written as girls - probably when we were about 7 or 8. Love hearing your stories.

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  3. I love this post! I know it's not quite the same, but I have kept journals since I was about 12 yrs old and I love pages of memories. It's so neat keep those things :)

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  4. I enjoyed your memory of circle letters. A group of us from college used to participate in something similar; we called it a Round Robin letter. This was way back in the '70's before email etc.

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  5. That would be so fun to do! Now that I've been spoiled by the internet, I'd be on pins and needles waiting for the letters to arrive. What a great memory that is ~ ♥

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  6. Here from the Friday Follow. You have a great looking site. Hope to get to know you better soon. Stop on by and follow me so we can comment to each other often.

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  7. Happy Friday!!! I am a new follower!!

    Sarah

    sarahsblogoffun.blogspot.com

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  8. In this day of instant messaging, email, Facebook, Twitter, etc., your letters are such a special treasure. Who keeps emails? Even if they do, the correspondence lacks the character of handwritten notes or letters.

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  9. I have a friend that is former Amish, and still participates in circle letters with his family. I have always wished my family would do something like that, so I could participate too!
    Happy Friday Follow!
    Virginia
    http://ladyvdzine.com

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  10. This brings back good memories of my circle letter days.

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  11. stopped by from Friday Follow!

    justanightowl.com

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  12. circle letters, how quaint and what a neat tradition. you have such great memories of wonderful times(at least i think so). have a great weekend!

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  13. Aloha,
    I love this post, isn't letter writing these days a lost art?
    hand written letters sent in the mail just seem something of the past. Emails ,texting, webcams etc..are what is in!
    I love to send cards in the mail, it just keeps me connected in the older forms of communications.
    Loved my visit as always
    sending you Hawaii sunshine
    Brandi

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  14. What fun! I ran across a whole stack of letters that 2 of my cousins had written me back in the 70's. I was before I moved to Arkansas where they lived. I keep forgetting to ask them if they still have mine. I started to throw them out many times but am so glad I always changed my mind. I also ran on to some letters that my Dad had wrote to my mom and bros when he had moved to Illinois after the war to find work. They were still in Arkansas at that time. I would take absolutely nothing for those letters. A side of my Dad you rarely saw. A treasure for sure. Memories... I love them!

    until next time... nel

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  15. I love your blog and stories! Following you from the Friday Follow! :-) ~ Coreen
    www.velvetoversteel.blogspot.com

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  16. Hi there, stopping by from Friday Follow. Great to meet you, hope to see you soon...
    www.thehusaileybunch.com

    Have a great weekend!

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  17. I love this. Simply love it. What a touching story and so well told!

    Nice to find you through FF, I am your newest follower!

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  18. My mom's family did this too. I still write letters, but mostly to older relatives. It's becoming a lost art, isn't it?
    Blessings,
    Marcia

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  19. I love your blog! I can't wait to read more!

    I'm following you from Friday Follow!
    Heather
    http://www.ratherbechangingdiapers.com/

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  20. I too have never heard of this but it sounds like fun...more fun than just forwarding an email that's for sure! :)

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  21. I think this is one of the best posts you've done. What a wonderful idea. Who doesn't love to get a written letter, but what a special way to keep in touch. Thank you for all the ways that you share your history and your life.

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  22. I hadnt heard of this, but it must have been such fun to receive all the letters.

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  23. Thank-you for stopping by my blog! I read yours regularly , though I don't know that I've commented before.

    Your take on the writers of "amish" stories made me smile. I've always thought it sounded like most of their research was done by reading brochures picked up at tourist stops. I quit reading them because they seemed so "off". Guess I wasn't to far off base with that thought!
    You can definitely see the difference when you read the stories by an actual amish (or at least formerly amish) writer- its like two completely different worlds!
    Thank-you for allowing us a glimpse inside your past!
    Blessings on your weekend!
    Bonnie

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  24. THat is so neat! I am looking forward to hearing about your Amish upbringing. I am always amazed at how hard your culture works, how simple, yet so comfortable looking. And you make the best furniture! Following you from the Friday hop. Hope to see you soon!

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  25. The circle letters always took a long vacation at our house... ;) But Mom loved them, too...

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  26. We just got ours in the mail the other day from my own family's circle letter. Ours includes, Aunts, cousins and relation by marriage.
    It's a fun way to stay connected - with my conservative mennonite family, who don't have internet. And, actually I was thinking of posting something similar...but I never got around to it.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  27. I"m currently a penpal with an Amish woman in Ohio. We've been penpals for about 4 years. I love getting her letters telling what everyone is up to!

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  28. I would have liked this very much. It's so nice to have that thread to the past and to each other.

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  29. Those circle letters sound fascinating. I can just picture a book made from them.

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  30. How Beautiful!!
    I'm here from Friday Follow- except it's Saturday! I'm glad I found your blog:)I'm your newest follower!

    I hope you will stop by my blog too!!

    Shannon
    http://www.milkandcuddles.com/

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  31. What is Friday Follow?
    I enjoyed reading about your circle letter. How fun.
    Do you speak with your Momma still?
    I hope so~
    I hope you have a wonderful Lord's Day~
    Blessings From Missouri~
    Carrie

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  32. This is a great idea. I wish I had done it. It's almost like keeping a diary, only this is one you share.

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  33. Nice Blog you have here. I am your latest follower, you can also follow me at www.safehomehappymom.com

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  34. You've won my February blog giveaway of Passionate Housewives Desperate for God! Please E-mail me your address and I'll get it out to you this week! Congratulations! :)

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  35. Oh wow I just love that idea of circle letters, I would love to be able to do something like that, thanks so much for sharing, have a good day!

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  36. Can you tell me exactly how a circle letter works? My oldest daughter is going to be doing one with a penpal. The penpal didn't really explain it when she wrote back. They will have 6 girls total, I think, in the circle.

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  37. This is such a lovely memory, thanks for sharing. I found your blog via Kindred Sisters blog as she was talking about your Book give-a-way. Glad I stopped by. This sounds like a Round-Robin but I had never thought of doing it with penpals.

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  38. Its always good to read old letters.
    Some times we end up exclaiming "Oh did I write all this?"

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Thank you so much for taking time to comment. I love hearing your thoughts.