You’ve no doubt heard it spoken…. “Handwritten letters are a lost art”.
Can you recall the last time you heard someone stating they received a handwritten letter via snail mail?
Are you able to recollect the last time you wrote a letter to someone in the ways of days-gone-by whereby you actually used stationery and licked a stamp? [Ewww.] Incidentally, the mass mailing of the annual Christmas letter does not count.
What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters. You can’t reread a phone call.
To further clarify, I refer not to a quick birthday card or other occasional sweet sentiment which may be dispatched off with a hurried notation before the closing signature… and I’m definitely not speaking of a letter-in-a-jiffy via electronic mail.
Suffice it to conclude it’s an extremely rare occasion when one receives a communication that spells time, effort, and thought marked by a tangibly held envelope with a postmark on it bearing your name. The kind where you’ve gone to the mailbox, opened the flap and discovered the treasured dinosaur in complete astonishment. If you’re still with me, you know the kind…. that is, if you were born before 1980.
In fact, dare I go so far as to assert “real” hand-penned letters are anachronistic? By comparison, that would be equivalent to placing bloomers on a Millennial female or a chained gold pocket watch on today’s Millennial male. Is that so far-fetched? Well, yes… the millennial fashion statements certainly are; however I tend to believe I’m not that far off the mark when referring to my notion of ‘letters out of time’.
Letters penned the old-fashioned way are a true gift! To receive something so special in your mailbox between the bills and the junk mailings translates into: someone really cares about you. The gift of someone’s time is precious.
To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart. ~Phyllis Theroux
These thoughts garnered my attention today as I was pondering my good intentions of setting aside time to sit down and pen a few letters to the wonderful people in my life… those for whom I should carve out time in order to let them know how much they are valued and appreciated; hugged and loved. That they deserve my time and caring… my purposeful efforts to inform them how special they are in my world is little commitment on my part contrasted to the joy it delivers when sunbeams radiate from their smile while breaking the envelope’s seal.
As I contemplated, I well-remembered having pen-pals in my youth. I once submitted a letter to the editor of Teen Magazine (I don’t know… something about my adoration for Andy Gibb & The BeeGees) and from that correspondence came a trove of return letters from which I acquired a few good pen-pals with staying power.
Further, and overwhelmingly so, my mind zeroed in on the priceless treasures I hold in my possession today because of the once revered importance of written correspondence between family members, friends and lovers… to convey news, heart-felt adoration and love. Handwritten letters were so warmly regarded, it was often said to “Kiss the Postman” because it was such a joyful event when one was on the receiving end of mail delivery from the mail carriers of long ago.
I share with you a few photos to convey the immense riches with which I’ve been blessed… both due to the written letter and also the high value placed upon them as prized possessions safely preserved over time. This photo displays a love letter over 100 years old written some time prior to their marriage in June of 1912 from my great grandfather to my great grandmother. Not only does this letter offer incredible insight into their courtship but it also stands as the only real remaining piece of anything I have representing him as he died while my father was a young boy of eight years.
These letters BELOW are the rather warm (and amusing) letters my father penned to his grandmother (the love letter recipient) throughout his childhood as he kept in touch with her since she lived a state away.
BELOW: On the other side of the family I have this letter from my great,great grandmother to my grandmother at Easter.
Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Not only do I have these amazing mementos within my family, I am preserving them in our ancestry records for generations to come.
I encourage you to be purposeful! Find the time to send a hand-written note or letter to someone you value. Preserve any you do have that may one day be treasured.
Do your part this week! Show someone you care… write a letter worthy of a kiss for their postman, lick the envelope and drop it in the mail. Let’s collectively strike down the notion that the handwritten letter is a lost art!