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I’m gonna write me a letter…….

March 27, 2012

There are a few blogs out there focused on letter writing.

I guess in some ways, what’s old is new again.

You might recall Jennifer used some of my handmade stationery for her letter-writing campaign over at A Letter a Day Keeps the Sadness Away.

And Stephen Elliott has a Letters in the Mail subscription for anyone interested in getting actual letters in the mail – some are even handwritten.

I wrote two letters today.

One to someone who is too young to be as sick as she is.

The second letter was to my vet, saying that if they can’t figure anything else out, it is okay to let my cat stop hurting. This is my dear sweet cat Queso. I wish I could simply write my youngest daughter a letter with the news. But, sigh, it won’t be as simple as that.

You don’t have to read between the lines here to understand that today has been kind of rough.

But the writing these notes made me think of all the letters I used to get.

When I was in first grade, my dad was stationed in Thailand and the only way we could communicate consistently was through letters. (Well, and the occasional cassette tape that he would send us with his voice crackling through the speaker.) I remember the envelopes looking like the ones above with the blue and red border. With his handwriting scrawled across the front. We would wait, for what seemed like forever, for those letters to come. I don’t remember if we wrote him back, but I hope so. How lonely Thailand would have been without letters filled with scents from home.

My grandmother lived in Wyoming, in the middle of nowhere, in a town of barely 300 people. And, yet, she wrote to me about what was happening in her life. She was mayor once – maybe it was just her turn in a town that small – but that was exciting. My grandmother the mayor. She also told me how to grow tomatoes in a letter of meticulous detail.

In high school, I was forever writing notes to my friends. When they wrote me back and scribbled a last minute message or a clarification in the margins, I always read that part first. It drove my best friend mad. She wanted to know why I couldn’t just wait to read those scribbles throughout the note. I figured if it had to be hurriedly added in, it must be important or at least interesting. Maybe my letter reading proves I am not that patient.

In college, we didn’t have sorority or fraternity houses, but we did have rows of file cabinets in a small room off the main lobby of the student union building. Lame maybe, but we were the first generation of texters – sans technology and the speed it offers. But we were good at checking in with each other. We’d leave each other notes to say “happy birthday” or simply “have a good day”. Big sisters wrote to little sisters and friends made sure no one’s folder was ever empty. An empty folder was no fun.

My cousin in southern Virginia used to send me letters decorated with recipes. Some of my favorite dishes are from the envelopes.

Then, my brother-in-law went to war. Mostly I sent him packages, but with notes tucked in. It was hard to figure out anything new to say because my thoughts were always the same, “don’t be afraid to duck, we want you home safely”. Thankfully he did come home safely.

I focused my home business on the art of letter writing and invitation sending. At craft shows, people used to marvel, “do people really write letters anymore?” I always smiled proudly, confirming with a nod, “indeed they do”.

What about you – do you have a favorite letter memory? Do you know someone who could use a handwritten note today?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 28, 2012 10:13 am

    Sorry about your kitty. It’s never easy. Hope you have a better day. Nice post about letters!

  2. Amritorupa Kanjilal permalink
    March 28, 2012 2:32 am

    I wrote my last letters 8 years ago, in college, to my then- boyfriend who was in a college in a different city. We would write massively huge letters to each other. Whenever I got a letter from him, I would buy a chocolate bar, and would eat it as I finished reading it…
    Thanks for taking me back to those memories…

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