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Monday, February 6, 2023

Real Life – Transformers


I am one of those people who writes Christmas letters. Some years are more eventful than others, but with the birth of our first grandchild, we certainly had news we were anxious to share!

Predating computers, my own mother spent December weeks arduously hand-writing notes and penning addresses. Photo cards were not common back then, but since I enjoy the living color visuals illustrating my own friends’ trajectories, I used them right away.

Over time, our holiday greetings have become increasingly elaborate, departing from the drug store printer’s variety, and morphing onto card stock, ordered on-line. Technologically dependent though we’ve become, however, composing our Christmas letter summary relies on my old school habit of keeping a paper calendar. This process permits me both to relive special moments, as well as easily sorting recurring themes into categories.

Subjects for the letter are general, but it’s the backstory that can be fun for people who know us the best. I had an elderly uncle, a creative type himself with a degree in Rhetoric, who often sent my letter back to me with comments, questions, and related anecdotes from his own life. Had he been alive to read the most recent letter, I am sure I would have learned something new, perhaps about his own reaction to becoming a grandparent, or some tidbit about his younger years growing up with my father.

I would have told my Uncle Bob that our daughter’s pregnancy had the side-effect of transforming me into a regular rail commuter into Chicago. A friend gave me the moniker, Urban Patti — I was coming and going so often. I would have shared that when the time came to choose my grandparent name, many were dismissed by the “Council of Grown Children.”

This little baby has renamed us, reassigned our roles, and enriched our lives. She has prompted research into the meaning of “once-removed.”

That’s the backstory. Our transformation: that’s the fact. (c)

Patti Koltes
Patti Koltes
Real Life © by Patti Koltes. Contact her at pkoltes@gmail.com.