I was reading a blog the other day of someone who still loves writing hand-written letters. The act of putting pen to paper is considered an art form by some, but it’s a dying art. In our day of Hallmark cards, emails, and texting with short comments punctuated by abbreviations, penmanship and authorship are eroding. It wasn’t so long ago that sending and receiving a handwritten letter was a savored pleasure in life.
Throughout history, handwritten letters have recorded moments big and small, feelings high and low, things mundane, tragic, poetic, romantic. This used to be such an important part of people’s lives. Today these letters are links to the past, echoing of hurts, disappointments, joys, loves, excitements and experiences, pulling us into the writer’s life, if only for a few moments, as we realize they cared enough to put it on the page. They are gifts of the writer’s time and energy.
I’ve had some remarkable letters in my life: A letter my father wrote to his four young children. A flurry of letters between my twin brother and me while he was stationed in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm 18 years ago. A collection of letters my cousin wrote to a French nurse before being shot down over France in 1917 at 30 years of age. I treasure these gift-wrapped memories—powerful and palpable signs of love and life constructed one word at a time—and I reread them often.