Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

Does anybody handwrite letters anymore?  I was just doing some spring cleaning and found some letters my grandma has written me over the years.

My grandma wrote me quite a few letters, and I'm sure she did it for all her grandchildren because that's just the kind of lady she was.  However, in my adolescence, I didn't see the value in keeping them, and unfortunately probably trashed quite a few of them.  Luckily, some of them struck my fancy, and I kept them.  I made a point of starting to keep them in college, and I am so thankful that I did.

My sweet sweet grandma has Alzheimer's and is in a nursing home, so I haven't received a letter from her in many many years.  Unfortunately, neither have I been able to have a substantive conversation with her in a very long time either.  But this weekend, I read through all of those letters and could envision her sitting down at her desk or her kitchen table and putting pen to paper writing down her sweet and encouraging thoughts that always made me feel so loved.  On the one hand, it made me sad because I don't get to talk to her anymore, and I feel like I never really got to say goodbye to her as she has slowly slipped away.  But more so it made me thankful.  Thankful that God blessed me with such a lovely grandmother who cared enough to sit down and write me notes.  Thankful that I get the joy of opening them up every few years to be reminded of her love for me.

My pappaw carried on the tradition after grandma couldn't remember anymore.  His notes were limited to birthday cards, but I love them none-the-less.  Usually he was just updating me on the progress of his garden and grandma's health or who came over for dinner the night before, but I love that he cared enough to write more than just "Happy Birthday."  

In the days of email, we can stay more easily connected which is great.  But let's be honest, how many of us are going to browse through our inbox reading old emails?  It's so much more impersonal.  So my challenge to you is this.  Sit down and write someone an old-fashioned handwritten letter.  It may take a bit more time and would require you to purchase some actual stamps, but I promise you the person receiving the letter will be so happy to be on the receiving end of it.  And I'm betting they just might stick it in a drawer and find it in a few years and experience the same joy re-reading it and thinking back fondly of you.


Anonymous said...

Great posts Terri! So much talk and tweets etc that just float by in the air but a handwritten note can be "absorbed" over time. I remember so well the handwriting styles of those I loved and that loved me over the years. I wonder if my grandchildren would even recognize mine. Thanks so much for the inspiration. I needed that today!

P.S. One of the people who has blessed me over the years through cards, etc. is your mom

Dad said...

I have kept a couple of letters from my mother (in my closet somewhere, but I will find them). I have the following written in my Bible (I stole it from Keith Clutts) - "Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards". How true.

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Marietta Pereira said...

Letter writing is truly a lost and forgotten art. Like you I have written hundreds of letters as a child to uncles, aunts, and cousins. In fact, it was a letter that broke the ice between me and some cousins whom I was not very close to. and teen. I too have preserved a few especially the ones I wrote to college buddies and we have exchanged quite a few during our college years.
Your piece is so poignant and well - written.