Your Town, March 14, 2010

I received a call from my son who was venting frustration —“how do you write a letter?” he asked.

He has located a long-lost relative he knows very little about and they have begun exchanging information, albeit, by e-mail.

“I write stuff about me, then ask questions back? That’s so lame,” he huffed.

As a product of the electronic age — where most everyday communication is through short, acronym conversations via text — he and a majority of the population are not familiar with the back-and-forth relic of corresponding, especially the handwritten kind.

Letter writing — a personal note in ink, folded and placed in an envelope that is stamped and delivered by the U.S. Postal Service — is a dying art.

Most of us learned in elementary school how to compose a letter in our best cursive. First the greeting (“Dear Aunt Bea”), followed by the body of the letter and its pleasantries (i.e. “I hope this letter finds you and yours well and you’re enjoying the lovely spring weather”). After several sentences of news, information, and questions about the reader’s well-being, the writer concludes with “Sincerely yours,” and neatly signs his or her name.

Several years ago, my mother came upon copies of letters that her grandparents exchanged when they were courting in the late 1800s. In the most carefully crafted lettering, they penned their eloquent declarations of love, told of the desperately needed rains that finally drenched the crops and elaborated on Uncle John’s hip ailment that was keeping him from toiling in the fields — “My dearest Tabitha,” and signed “With love, Joseph.”

I wrote letters to my grandmother until she passed away, almost 20 years ago, including snapshots of her grandsons or pictures they’d drawn. She kept them tucked away among her correspondences, and I received the stack of letters years later for my own safekeeping.

In this digital era, when my sons want to tell their grandmother the details of something that has happened, they add a short note to her Facebook page or upload a photo to her iPhone.

The conveniences of the day are bittersweet. It’s unfortunate that what was so “write,” back in simpler days — is barely written today. Connections are thankfully still there, but the eloquence of the art is lost each time we hit “send.”

The Family, Career and Community Leaders of America students at Grand Junction High School are inviting the community to “Walk Like MADD” in an effort to eliminate drunken driving.

The students will sponsor a 5K Race and Walk-a-Thon March 27 at the Grand Junction High School track, with all proceeds and donations going to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

The 5K registration begins at 7 a.m. and the race gets underway at 8:30 a.m. The cost for the 5K and Walk-a-Thon is $20 for adults and $10 for ages 18 and under.

The Walk-a-Thon starts at 10 a.m. Cost is $15 for adults for the Walk-a-Thon only and $7 for ages 18 and under.

Prizes will be given after the 5K to first-, second- and third- place winners. Door prizes will be given hourly during the Walk-a-Thon.

And there’s more MADDening details.

A DUI wrecked car will be on site to discourage drunken driving and there will be informational booths, as well as information about Alive at 25 classes.

Student organizer Camille Goodsell, a junior at Grand Junction High School, said they are hoping to have an ambulance and firetruck on site as well.

Karen Teel from Colorado Springs, the state youth representative from MADD, will talk a little about MADD and will have the DUI simulator goggles for people to try out, Goodsell said.

For information, call Goodsell at 640-5912; GJHS assistant principal Michelle Suttle at 254-6900; or Leaders of America adviser Susan Unverferth at 254-6935.


Houses for the Mesa Developmental Services “Home of Their Own” project — that will house and provide care services to 24 people affected by the impending closure of the Grand Junction Regional Center skilled nursing unit — are under construction and the public is invited to help add the final touches that will make the houses homes.

Development Services has registered dishes, cutlery, cookware and linens needed to stock the kitchens and baths for the homes at Bed, Bath & Beyond, 2464 U. S. Highway 6&50.

Anyone wanting to purchase items directly can ask for the Mesa Developmental Services Group Home list and select items to contribute to the project.

Bed, Bath & Beyond will hold the merchandise purchased for donation to the agency.

All purchases are tax-deductible.

Donors can send a copy of their receipt to Mesa Developmental Services, 950 Grand Ave., Grand Junction 81501, and they will be sent a donor acknowledgment for tax purposes. Call 256-8640 for information.


Once upon a time ...

Last week’s Your Town item regarding new graduates of the Mesa County Spellbinders’ Storytellers Training Class was incomplete.

Those who graduated recently include Kathleen Pilkenton, Chuck Kornman, Bob Smith, Judi Sammons, Holly Reed and Jeannie Finch.

... And they lived happily ever after.

The end.


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