In 1957, my then 22-year-old mother, Sally, wrote a letter to an unborn child about her love for one man while engaged to another. In loopy handwriting, the writer describes her hopes and dreams striated by cultural norms and society’s tensions. “I wonder, and will do so when you are my age and when your daughter is my age – I’ll wonder ‘what if…'”
What if she dumped the fiancé and drove off with the divorcé in his green jaguar?
What if she’d gone to law school instead of earning a master’s degree in social work?
What if she made her own decisions unencumbered by her mother and an undergraduate advisor who suggested she get an MSW over a JD since the former only took two years to complete versus the latter’s three.
What if she left her husband and children?
#Letterproject looks at women in society, familial bonds and expectations. Imagine a world in which women are free to write and speak and vote freely, they are educated, free thinkers and able to live in harmony with or without others, according to their own desires.
Fast forward to my own 22-year-old daughter, for whom career and life experience take priority over marriage, and only we empathize with the generations who came before BOTH of us. To my daughter when she wonders is a story of five generations of women, parent-child communications and what it is to be female in an analogue turned digital world.
Sophie Sawyers, 22-years-old, reads excerpts from a letter written by her grandmother, Sally Roos Schneck.