My love affair with writing began with letters. Not the alphabet ones. I’m talking about letters sent to someone and received from someone via the US mail. Once upon a time – even after the Pony Express Days – letter writing was a common form of communication. Really!
When I first began to practice the art of letter writing in school, I often thought about who I could write to. In addition to the usual relatives, I sent letters to pop stars requesting autographed pictures. Amazingly, I got some. That success encouraged me to continue my letter writing campaign to pen pals. Here I had a chance to tell stories about a “day in the life” of ME, to young girls far away. While I don’t remember who I wrote to or what was said, I know it was exciting to receive a letter from someone. So exciting in fact, that I immediately wrote more letters to get more mail!
When I went off to college in the 70’s, there were no cell phones, and regular phone calls were often too expensive for the college student budget, so I ramped up my letter writing to family and friends, again spurred on by every response I received. My mother kept some of those college letters – written on wrapping paper, paper bags, and many other blank surfaces that could be folded and sent in an envelope. Then, at the end of my Freshman Year, I met the young man who would become my husband. He was in the Navy at the time and we’d only see each other when he was on leave, so in between those visits, we wrote letters. I’ve saved all the letters he wrote…more than 200 of them, each in response to one I wrote to him all those years ago.
In this age of instant communication, letter writing is a lost art. I don’t write so many letters any more, but all that practice has made me a better writer. And, I still get a warm feeling whenever I receive a handwritten letter. Admit it…you do too!