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The Lost Art of Letter Writing

Updated: Jan 11

My father recently brought me a box of my grandmother's things that he thought I might like to have. It is full of precious treasures, but my very favorite is a stack of letters that were important enough to her to save. Imagine how touched I was to discover that she had kept every single letter I had written to her over the years. I had no idea, and my eyes filled with tears as I re-read them all. My daughters were there, and we shared some laughs as they caught glimpses of a younger me. (They especially found it funny how liberally I used P.S...and P.PS...and even P.P.P.S at the end of almost every one.) You see, my childhood is contained in those letters. You can literally watch the progression in both handwriting and topics. Early pictures drawn when I was 5, to asking her advice about boys when I became a teenager. Thoughts about God, and expressions of my love for her. My grandmother was a truly remarkable woman, and I miss her very much.

I, like many of us that are over 50, used to be a prolific letter writer. I sent cards for special occasions. I had a penpal in Scotland that I never met in person, but we became dear friends by mail. I kept in touch with classmates who had moved away, and family members who lived in other states. I loved selecting fun, unique stationary and stamps that suited the recipient. I took the time to choose my words carefully, and make sure my penmanship was on point.

I fear that in this age of email and texting, the art of handwritten letter writing is getting lost. I can't argue that the new ways are far faster and more convenient. I use them too, and wouldn't want to go back to a time when I couldn't communicate with such speed and efficiency. However, we often aren't as cautious with what we say when responding so quickly. In the massive barrage of messages we don't pay as close of attention to what others are saying either. Don't even get me started on emojis and ROFL. I miss the days of going to the mailbox and finding something other than junk mail and bills in there. The anticipation of waiting for a reply made it feel like an important event when it finally arrived. Holiday greetings and love letters certainly don't feel the same by text. There was an excitement in opening up a real old fashioned letter that is just not there with a typed screen message.

I want to bring this tradition back. Who is with me? To put a nostalgic smile on some faces as folks receive a card in the mail unexpectedly. Send thank you notes, and special occasion remembrances. You will definitely stand out as different with business contacts if they get something handwritten from you when no one else is doing that anymore. They will notice and remember it. Friends and family also will feel special knowing that you took extra time thinking of them. In this warp speed world, it's a sweet and simple way to slow down and connect with others in an old way that feels new again. And who knows? Maybe someday your granddaughter will be able to look back and cherish something saved, and relive that message again. That would never happen with an email.

P.S. The letters I was gifted reminded me how close I had been to my grandma.

P.P.S. They felt like a hug from heaven.

P.P.P.S. Write someone you care about a handwritten letter today.

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