Last night I got a bug up my ass to find a card that was given to me years and years ago. Because I’m obviously a woman, I’ve kept a shit-ton of letters and cards from family and girlfriends over the years. Going through the box, I surprised myself on how much shit I kept. I mean we’re talking pen-pal letters that are 25+ years old (I should scan some of those in). As I was going through them, I made a mental note to throw some away. I really don’t need to keep all of them, especially the ones from ex-girlfriends from when I was 17, although they do bring a good laugh on how stupid we are as teenagers.
Anyway, I found a letter from my sister Joy from when she was in the military. I didn’t even remember getting a letter from her (and this was the early ’90s). Shockingly, as I continued to dig through this box, I found numerous letters and cards from her. This was surprising because our family is simply not that way. Not to each other, anyway. I used to write a lot of letters to my (female) friends in college, and when I had moved out of the house (all of this before email, of course), but I don’t ever remember writing my sister. So I called her today and told her what I found.
“I wrote you letters? Why? Are you sure they are from me?”
“Yes I’m sure, Joy. I don’t know anyone else named Joy. Who else would they be from?”
“Maybe I was brainwashed. Oh…wait, were they from basic training?”
“Yeah, I only looked through a couple, but there were definitely some from basic.”
“Oh, okay. It makes sense now. Yeah, the drill sergeants forced us to write to our families so they wouldn’t be worried.”
“Every one is signed ‘♥ Joy’. Otherwise read as ‘Love, Joy’.”
“I don’t know what that was all about.”
Well I went through some tonight and she’s full of shit. While certainly some were from basic, a lot were from when she was in Germany, well after basic. I haven’t gone through them all, but here are some wonderful highlights:
July 4th, 1991 (Letter):
(Talking about someone in her platoon or whatever.)
Well anyway, she was practicing out on the firing range beside me 2 weeks ago and for a period of time she went from crying to laughing and back again. Sometimes she did both at the same time. I was scared to be near her. (She had a loaded weapon.) Anyway she’s like that guy from that movie I can’t remember the name of it…The one where he blows away his drill sergeant and then himself in the latrine. Well put it his way, I wouldn’t be surprised if she did that.
(Later on in the same letter.)
Also tell [mom] not to throw my platoon picture in some corner to get fucked up.
May 4th, 1992 (Letter):
(This is in reply to pictures I sent of her car after I totaled it.)
The pictures of the car had my heart broken, but at least you’re okay. That’s the important thing I suppose.
June 22nd, 1992 (Letter):
(She is referring to her birthday here.)
Oh, by the way, in case you were wondering. As of today, we have 1 month, 2 weeks and 5 days until you know what. Don’t fret little bro. I’ll send a list of gifts and presents which will be acceptable.
August 10th, 1993 (Letter):
Hi. How’s it going? I’m sitting here listening to Ice T. KKK Bitch to be precise. Your mother’s favorite man.
(For those in the know, my mom hated Ice T. HATED. Yeah, he was a passenger on her infamous plane.)
August 12th, 1993 (Letter):
PS – Tell everyone I said thanks for the birthday card and/or phone call I never received on my birthday. Very thoughtful of you all.
PSS – I am 24 now. I will always be older and wiser than you. You will never be able to catch up to me. Even if I’m dead my bones will still be aging. It just goes to prove…You can’t do anything you set your mind to. Hmmmmmmmmm.
September 26th, 1993 (Letter):
Oh here’s something you will be excited to hear. I bought one of those battery operated breast pumps to extract milk for the baby when I go back to work.
(Really, Joy? Really?)
December ’93 (Christmas Card):
As usual, I apologize for getting more presents than yourself. It’s not my fault I was born beautiful and great.
There is a lot of good things in these letters, but much of it is inside and is only funny to us. But, damn, I’m glad I kept them.
Oh, and since I know you are reading this Joy, not only did you end all of your letters with ‘♥ Joy’, but many of them had a “Miss you!” preceding that ♥. FYI.