The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.
Leslie Poles Hartley The Go-Between (1953)
Reading my ancestors’ letters, receipts and scraps of daily life is like visiting a foreign country; their habits of mind, their notions of propriety, their concepts of God, country and family are all different. Reviewing their lives throws my own habits and thoughts out of kilter. Every time I lift my head from this stack of paper I return as if from a vacation. I am different. I see life with new eyes, hear family conversations with new ears–I am ready to live life with a flourish. It is for this euphoria that I transcribe. And in 2011 I hope to share letters in some sort of order, such that a reader can feel the tug of that past, and travel with me into that foreign land where they do things differently.