Ethel was ahead of her time

The other day, I was texting someone, and of course I took shortcuts in my spelling to make it easier to compose the message.  I found myself typing “tho’t” for “thought” – and it took me back to the numerous letters I received over the course of my adult life from my Grandma Gould.  She was a steady letter writer for whom the act was a chance to say “I’m thinking of you.”

Mostly she wrote me when I had responded to one of her letters, though I did occasionally get letters just because she thought it might be nice for me to get one – say, at my new teaching job on the Oregon coast, or when I moved from Austin to Pasadena.  Her letters were full of words like “tho’t” (I suspect the correct text spelling is, in fact, “thot”), and I am sorry to say that – at least in my early adulthood – these writing shortcuts of hers irritated me.

How’s that for self-centered adolescent-like nerve: “You are taking the time to write me a letter but I intend to quibble silently about how you spell your words”!  I cringe to acknowledge the ways that I was a simply a normal teenager (and post-teenager).  I never aspired to be normal, and in this I was largely successful.  I also knew it was ridiculous to be embarrassed by things the adults in my life did, or wore – but that didn’t stop me from being embarrassed.

So even though my grandma hopefully didn’t know she was in a position to be vindicated, I still feel she somehow is by the fact that now her favorite writing shortcuts are all the rage.  Adding a little humility to my stack doesn’t hurt either.

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