- Books, Literature, and Writing
Old Fashioned Letter Writing
The joy of a letter
The Joy of a Letter
Growing up my mother always had me write thank you notes for gifts I received from friends and relatives. These short notes would be penned immediately after receipt of said gift, no time wasted. There was something urgent about letting the giver know how touched I was with the thoughtfulness of the item sent.
In the fifth grade I moved across the country to Santa Barbara, California with my family for one year. In 1965 this was rarely done, we had not yet become the mobile world we now have become. During this time I sent many letters back home to friends and hoped that one day there would be something in the return mail for me. I also was given the name of a Japanese teenager who lived across the world and she and I would trade letters and postcards for many years to come. It was a different world then, one that required patience and careful handling of letters.
Throughout history there have been many kings and queens, writers and movie stars that have traded letters over the sands of time. Wartime in particular saw the slowest mail come in, from sweethearts who had penned love letters months earlier espousing their love for each other. Sometimes people serving overseas would die before their letter had been received by its recipient, almost as though the words were being spoken from the grave.
Both my parents were avid letter writers. My dad would correspond with his cousins and good friends via his portable typewriter. When my family moved to Virginia and then Florida he would send us beautifully written and/or typed pages of his daily activities with twists of humor therein. I have all the letters he sent me during that time and I reflect on them now and again.
A letter keeps on giving and giving, long after the first reading. The writer offers a window into their world at the time, and one that never changes, even after many years. Once written, it remains an indelible imprint on embossed paper. The day, the date and the envelope even tell a story of travel and connection.
E-mail has become a written connector now for many people. It is uplifting to think that people do correspond in this manner, even though many years before they would have rebuffed the idea of writing a letter to anyone. In this cyberworld the instantaneous advantage of reading something written is a luxury to many of us who remember the slow wheels of progress with the US mail system. But there is still something very special in receiving a beautifully penned hand written letter in the mail from someone. It is much more personal than something sent via the e-mail. It offers more to the reader in the way it feels, as it has been held in the hand of the writer, and molded to offer the reader a glimpse into the inner world of the writer.
One day we will probably have people who will have to decipher hand written cursive written letters. The art of handwriting has faded away with the clicking of keys and the advent of the printed word. Yet in the depths of history there will remain someone who will find a lovely letter, or handwritten note and perhaps reflect upon its contents with great relish.
There is a joy in receiving a letter in the mail. A secret pleasure, a private moment. Some letters contain words that cannot be taken back and carry heartache, while others proffer a feeling of love and emotional connection.
Before it is too late, offer a letter of love to someone you know. The joy of receiving this letter will most assuredly make their day.