My grandmother has been dead for many years, but I think of her often. Even though she lived eight hours away when I was growing up, we were very close. I saw her about once a year, sometimes two, if I was lucky. We talked on the phone frequently, but it is the memory of her letters that makes me smile.
You see, Grandma was ahead of her time. I won’t say she invented the concept of using “LOL” (laugh out loud) that punctuates so many messages today, but she did have a precursor. When Grandma wrote her letters, full of news from her small hometown in Ohio and about what she and Grandpa were doing, she would often recount funny stories involving her and Grandpa. At the end of those stories, she would always write “Ha-Ha!”. That always made me laugh out loud. I thought this was so clever of my Grandma, and I imagined us laughing together. Because I was into all things “Grandma,” I imitated this style. In every letter to her, I would try to include one funny story about me so I could write “Ha-Ha!” at the end of it, just like Grandma.
“Ha-Ha!” never caught on in general usage, as far as I know, but it still holds a special place in my heart.
© Lynn Wyvill 2011