Friday, April 29, 2011


"The age of technology has both revived the use of writing and provided ever more reasons for its spiritual solace. Emails are letters, after all, more lasting than phone calls, even if many of them r 2 cursory 4 u." ~Anna Quindlen


I have always loved getting letters.  I had pen pals when I was young, and friends who had moved away or that I had moved away from.  It was always fun to write to them of my daily adventures and await letters from them about the  stories of their lives.

Mum was a letter writer.  She wrote weekly to her parents and various siblings and anticipated their letters in return.  It was such a tangible way to keep in touch with loved ones.  When I left home I knew I would be another recipient of her weekly letters and I loved writing to her and dad telling them about my life in a different part of the country.

What I didn't realize at the time was that she was keeping most of my letters.  As I dated, got married, had kids, and raised my family I would send her detailed reports of our goings-on.  Not too many years ago she gave me a large packet containing a lot of those letters.  What fun it was to read them and relive, in a small way, my joys and frustrations as Lloyd and I raised our family.

As our children grew up and moved away, we started writing to and receiving letters from them.  Those too were a joy to receive.  I have kept most of them too, in binders.

My most treasured letter though is one Lloyd wrote to me when he was 16 and feeling unappreciated - we hadn't even started to date yet back then.  I have no idea why I kept it all these years, through all the moves I've made.  I like to torment him about it though and threaten to post it on my blog.  But I think he knows I'd never do that to him.  No one has seen it except for the two of us.  The kids might get a kick out of it when we've left this world and they find it among the trivia of our lives.  Maybe.

The blue letter in the collage picture is one of the last coherent letters I received from Mum before the Alzheimer's took memories of us away from her over a year ago.  There are signs of her reduced cognition in it but still enough of her to make it special.

I like the tangibility of the letters - papers filled with writing or typing, folded and placed in envelopes.  It is so much more satisfying than emails.  I love getting emails too but they just don't have the same feeling as a letter - unless I print them out - and in the interest of a 'green' environment, I just can't do that.

If you're lucky enough to have a packet of old letters, take a few minutes to read through them and relive the moments that were once deemed worthy of reporting on to others.  I did and I'm glad.


Lucy (aka rharper) said...

I found several old letters just in my own house among stuff. I set up another blog and put them each on that with links to each letter. Because of some of the personal stuff in them, I had to keep the site private but it's a neat way to keep all of them alive and have a little history on the side. My favorite one is about 1920 or around there and it's a letter from my mother's cousin to her when they were both about 10 or 11. So cute.

Anonymous said...

I was 15 actually. Blush. Lloyd

Michael MacKenzie said...

I still occasionally read through the letters I wrote from my mission that you saved for me. It's like a second journal.

just call me jo said...

I adore letters. Sadly I haven't saved as many as I should have. It's definitely becoming a lost art. You are a wise woman to preserve them.

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