Introducing The Postscript

Published 11:37 am Wednesday, August 22, 2018

By Carrie Classon


I come from a family of letter writers.

On my mother’s side we have a tradition that began well before I was born, called the “Round Robin.” The Round Robin is a circulated letter sent to a list of almost two-dozen family members. When the Robin arrives in my mailbox, my previous letter will be the oldest in the pile. I read all the letters that came after mine, put a new letter on the top, and mail it to the next person on the list.

This tradition predates email by about fifty years and is difficult to justify, particularly since many of the original participants have died and the new generation of letter writers finds the receipt of an enormous pile of correspondence daunting in a way the previous generation probably did not.

As a result, the Robin now takes a very long time to complete its circular migration—always in excess of a year, sometimes as long as two. There was a now-famous incident when the Robin was lost under a cousin’s bed for nearly six months and presumed dead.

Nothing in the Robin could be categorized as “news.” Babies are taking their first steps before the birth announcement is received. Condolences and congratulations are written months after the actual event. The whole thing seems truly nonsensical in the age of Facebook, and yet the Robin continues. Many times, I have been convinced that the Robin must have quietly died, only to have a fat brown envelope arrive in my mailbox. And since I cannot be the one to kill it, I read the very old news, write another letter, and send the venerable bird on its way.

My mother’s father was a letter writer. My family has a collection of the funny and touching letters he wrote from France during World War I, where he played the bugle. He played taps at dozens of funerals for farm boys lost overseas before he returned home to the farm, married his sweetheart, and produced a family of eleven letter writers.

When I began writing (very late, in my forties) I somehow assumed I must have inherited the interest from my father’s family. My father’s father was a school principle and loved to read. He was the first in his family to go to college. But I eventually realized it was my mother’s father—the farmer and all his funny, letter-writing children—who wrote their stories and shared them.

Before I had written a book, I wrote this column. And now I am coming back—not because I don’t like writing books and not because I won’t keep writing them, but because this column is somehow more personal, more timely. I missed the experience of writing to and hearing from you, my readers, each week.

I decided to call the column “The Postscript” without really knowing why. Maybe it’s because the column contains afterthoughts that didn’t find their way into a book. Maybe it’s just because I think I still have a thing or two to say. I think maybe we all do.

There’s an assumption that by middle-age and later we’ve already said and done all the really important stuff we’re going to. I don’t think this is true at all. In fact, I think the best stuff is often saved for last.

So, thank you for reading—I hope we will have some fun together. You can always feel free to contact me at:

Till next time,


Carrie Classon is a columnist, author, playwright, and performer. Her memoir, “Blue Yarn,” will be released by Texas publisher, Black Rose Writing, in early 2019.