Writing Letters is a Vehicle to Connect to Others

Actual Album of the Episode in 1982 where my letter was read on American Top 40 by Casey Kasem.

American Top 4o – given to my by KSKO Radio – McGrath

1982 was the last year my family lived on our Trapping Cabin at the Nixon River outside of McGrath, Alaska. I was 12-years old. My mom, Irene, would play the American Top 40 every Saturday. We would dance and clean house and enjoy the day – especially in the springtime when the sun started coming out longer. I wrote a letter to Casey Kasem with a trivia question. I asked him, “How many #1 songs on the American Top 40 were based on dogs? ” I went on to say that my dad was an Iditarod Dog Musher in Alaska and I wanted to know. Casey Kasem pronounced the Iditarod as EE-dit-a-rod and he said “moosh on down the Iditarod Trail.” I do recall one song he played in response to my trivia question which was, “You Ain’t Nuthin’ but a Hound Dog” Elvis Presley..

Today is February 11, 2021. It is 8:14 p.m. I was blessed today with one of the most inspiring conversations of my life. The evolution of this conversation reminded me of what hope is.

Let me start with the revelation this conversation blanketed me with. One take away is what hope is not. Hope is not me being paralyzed by the actions of a few.

Recognizing the challenge God placed before me has always been something I recognized. But I learned today that what I do with that Challenge is the Gift I give back to God.

Maybe this is a concept of infancy for more evolved people than me, but that second part, “what I do with that Challenge is the Gift I give back to God” was the key to unlocking the door to where I go next.

This conversation was anointed.

This person unlocked the chains that I put upon myself and I felt free to exclaim my God-Given Gift. I’ve never said that aloud before. People have said it to me many times throughout my life, but I was not prepared to accept the responsibility of that gift until today.

Mine is that I love writing, I love journals. I love that my mom and I have diaries of our lives from our two parallel perspectives while experiencing our lives together.

I love sending and receiving letters. I have letters from so many friends and family organized and filed. The beauty of our time in history, as well as what we felt and thought about in those tender ages recaptures pureness of hopes and dreams.

Writing letters is an authentic way of communicating your soul to another – in a time where anticipation was not an option. There is a more sacred type of consent when a letter is written, addressed, stamped, and put into the mail.

Because you mail a letter and you let it go. In part, because of the amount of time that it takes a letter to be physically delivered. In the meantime, you have basketball practice, cross-country running, academic decathlon, a break-up from your boyfriend, a fight with your mother, passed a test or otherwise.

Many activities would take place in the interim – so there is not a lot of obsessing about waiting for a response in the mailbox. Coupled with that, if we had long-distance phone calls, it was so expensive it wasn’t an everyday option to make phone calls. A stamp was affordable.

We were blessed not to have that “instant-gratification”; or the awful “opportunity” of knee-jerk reactions, mass-manipulation, uninvited disclosures and shaming that social media and text messaging provides.

I love words, the meaning of words, and the nuances of words. I love writing, documenting, sharing my opinion, and connecting with people, as well as connecting people to each other – FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF HOPE.

Jack Welch is my teacher. He said one thing that I have been wrestling with throughout my years of being his student. He said something along the lines of , “You cannot be half-way into anything and expect to be successful at either of those half-endeavors”.

Published by Trudy Sobocienski

My blog, "Beyond Leadership" is a creative place to share my personal feelings and thoughts while working in leadership roles for a variety of Alaska Native organizations, both for and not-for profit entities. An incredible leader and mentor of mine once asked while we were in Washington, DC, "What happened to you between the ages of 7-10 that motivated you to serve in a native leadership capacity". I was struck by that poignant thought and as such, include actual entries from my mother and my diaries beginning in the early 1970's. I enjoy sharing these excerpts because it captures the parallels she and I were experiencing throughout life, from two separate worldviews. Hers as a young mother of four and mine as her eldest child. I have never came across a book on leadership that lays bare a leaders personal feelings, thoughts, hopes, fears and dreams they were experiencing. So for me, my goal is two-fold: 1. Share the incredible life my parents created for my siblings and I growing up in remote Alaska; and, 2) Sharing my humanity, through my personal diaries and journals, while serving as the youngest-ever President/CEO for the Alaska Native Health Board. There are passages that will include significant policy issues I was working on throughout my career and travels. There are many more passages that do not. I cannot speak for my mom's passages, because I am reading them as I share them here, with you; with her permission of course.

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