Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

About two weeks after Christmas, I got a letter from my mom.  It was a Thank You note that she had made and had a short note in it.  At the time, I remember thinking "Oh wow! a letter!"  and that got me thinking about the last time I'd received a proper letter - not a mass produced Christmas letter (which I like, so keep 'em coming) but a real letter. Where someone sat down, pen in hand, and thought about only me and what that person had to say.  That of course made me think about the last time that I had written a letter (I don't even do Christmas updates!). And honestly, I think it was in 1997.  I had a friend who lived in England and we regularly corresponded by letters.  We lost touch about then, and I don't think I've written a letter since. 

When you think about that, it's pretty sad.  Yeah, we have Facebook and email, but it's not the same. Facebook is like Blogging - random thoughts that go out to anyone bothered to read it. E-mail is closer, but still - very sterile. Like TYPING personal letters!  There is no real connection there...not the connection you get when you sit down, fully focused on the intended recipient, and write to them and only them. It's so much more personal, when I think about it, that maybe it's too personal for these times.  This is a sad state of affairs...

Remember back in the day when you would go to the Hallmark store and pore over the stationery? So many colors, shapes, sizes to choose from - scented, multicolored, monogrammed... letters were the way to keep in touch. The familiarity of my friend's handwriting was comforting - even before I'd read the content. And the same was true with the note from my Mom.  I can't remember the last time I saw her handwriting, other than "Grandma Donna" or "Mom" signed to bottom of a birthday card. It's a silly thought, but we are our handwriting: like our hair, our eyes, the sound of our voice...they all identify us, bringing up memories of each other even when we haven't been physically together for years.  For example, Jenny is my best friend from college. We were practically inseparable during the four years we were at school together.  Graduation came and Jen went down south with her parents and I stayed here. Neither one of us has really been good at keeping in touch, but I still love her as much as I used to when I saw her every day.  When I get Christmas cards from Jenny, even though we are now both significantly older and haven't seen each other more than three times since graduation, her signature is EXACTLY THE SAME and it's like we're together again for that tiny bit. 

The day that I read my mother's note, I resolved to start writing letters. Of course, like my resolution to work more, I haven't done it.  But, I do think that I might go check out the Hallmark and see if I can get myself some pink, scented stationery!  


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