When I was a kid my mother sat at her desk several mornings a week and penned letters to my grandmothers. She probably had several other friends that she also corresponded with on a regular basis. When she was bent over her pad of paper, we knew not to disturb her unless there were bones. blood or vomit involved. That was Mom’s time.
So it’s no wonder that I grew up writing. I kept diaries from third or fourth grade right up through high school. I also had pen pals. One in Japan and my best friend that I left in the old neighborhood in second grade. I loved writing letters.
When Mr. Nina headed off to college I wrote him every day and sent the letters a couple of times a week. But it wasn’t one sided. Mr. Nina wrote to me a couple of times a week as well. Long letters filled with love and college pranks only guys can pull, kept me part of his life. When I went off to college my mom added me to her letter writing list and I got a letter once a week. I treasured those letters. They came every Thursday or Friday and I would read them out loud to my roommate. I told Mom years later how much they meant to me and it took her completely off guard. I think she’d be even more surprised if she knew I saved every letter she sent me.
Yep, packed away in shoeboxes are the letters from Mr. Nina and my mother. I haven’t read them in years, but since we’re moving soon I have no doubt I’ll pull them out and read through some of them again. I have no idea what my kids will do with these letters, but I just can’t part with them.
And I bet you’re wondering what precipitated this blog. Well, with Mr. Nina being several states away we’ve begun writing again. Not letters so much, but cards and little notes. Skype has made the newsy-letters not as important. When a note arrived from him the other day my heart actually skipped a beat. Just seeing my name written in his unreadable chicken scratch made me sigh. It brought me back to those many years ago when I went through the mail with great anticiaption.
And that’s what makes me so sad. My children text their boy/girlfriends several times a day. They have facebook to keep them in touch with family back home while they’re at college. And it’s good … I guess. But they’ll never know the thrill of waiting for a lover’s letter in the mail. The thought that they were thinking of you even when you weren’t with them. The romance of reading words that perhaps they’re too nervous to say aloud. *sigh* It’s just so … Cyrano De Bergarac.
The closest my children have come to writing letters are the thank you notes I’ve insisted they write to relatives after birthdays and Christmas. Now that they’re young adults they’ve developed the habit and do it without prompting from me. Their grandparents are especially enjoying it. It just makes me sad that that’s the only taste of this wonderful tradition they may ever know.
I’ve heard letter writing is making a come back. I don’t know if that’s true. I tend to think my children’s generation with the advent of cellphones and texting will lose the art of letter writing and it will go the way of other extinct animals only to be seen in museums and history books. And that would be just so sad.
So what about you? Are you a letter writer? Do you have a stash of special letters that you’re unwilling to part with? Because you know me, I’m just wondering if I’m the only one in the world with a apecial shoebox in her closet.