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The following story was written by Beatrice Wyllie and shared as part of the Memory Project.

Hi, Mama,

This letter is long overdue. So many times I’ve thought that I should write to you, but something always stopped me.

Three days ago, my Kindle came in the mail, and I started to wonder what would you think of it–you who loved books so much and introduced Ernest and me to the marvels of reading. I remember when you read a story to us about a giant with one eye in the middle of his forehead, and many other stories. Inbetween the bombs falling, you had us cruising in our imagination on the sea in search of the Golden Fleece with Jason.

How shall I describe my Kindle? It is 7 inches long, 4 inches wide, and it is lighter than a loaf of bread. There is a screen at the top of this marvelous contraption and keys at the bottom of the screen, with places on the side from which, when you push the side, printing appears. Don’t ask me how; I think that it has something to do with computers. I typed a request for a book, and in a few minutes it appeared on the screen. I requested My Antonia, by Willa Cather. I also saw other downloadable languages advertised, so now I have Romanian phrases in my Kindle, too. Who knows; maybe I shall resurrect my Romanian language facility.

This marvelous piece of machinery reminds me of a Sunday at Tante Jenny’s house when we were eating lunch with the radio playing some music, and then Uncle Ion started to talk about some people that had invented a radio that showed pictures of people talking. I couldn’t understand how people could get into that little radio and talk. Now I can just picture Uncle Ion looking at a TV remote or at my Kindle in wonder.

Oh, Mama, did you know that, just like you, both Ernest and I loved to travel? Ernest had a plane he and his wife traveled all over North and South America, and I with you in my mind have traveled five continents, always saying to myself I wish Mama could see me now.

Can you believe that the skinny little girl, who was always hungry after finishing her ration of bread in the morning, is now trying to lose weight. I wish you could have been here longer, You could have seen your grandchildren grow up and enjoy them as much as Ernest and I have.

Of all the teachers I have had–and they were many–you were my first and the best. From you I learned so many things: to love reading, to keep on learning, not be afraid to question when I didn’t understand–and, because of the circumstances in which we were living, to be independent and resourceful.

Thank you for all those things I mentioned and those that I didn’t list. I love you very much.


[September 5, 2011]