Writing letters… is that something that disappeared in my mother’s time? Have twitter, facebook, bloging and emails eliminated the time worn tradition of touching base through paper and a stamp? Does instant automatically equal better?
I’ve been considering these issues because I used to love to write letters. And I grew up in a letter writing household. Though we lived only a hour away from my Grandmother, my Mom wrote a postcard to her every week. Mom’s writing was tiny and got tinier as the space in the postcard began to fill up. I remember her finishing the last sentence by running it up the edge of the postcard, and I used to wonder if my Grandma used a magnifying glass to read them.
In turn, many years later when my Mom lived in Alabama and I was still here in Michigan I restarted the tradition. Bonnie the sheltie-girl and I would get up every Saturday and write Mom a letter, using a computer and regularly sized paper, which we hurried out to the mailbox so that the mailman would pick it up that morning and she’d have it by Wednesday.
We did this every week for years…until email happened along. When we found the almost instant connection the letters dwindled. Yet after her death I found all those letters I had sent bound together, safe in her desk. Through my tears I recognized the value of a letter, the way you can touch them over and over, knowing they were touched by the person who took the time to send them to you. They are tangible evidence of thoughtfulness and care and love.
So I was intrigued by a challenge presented by PJ on her blog Books in Northport. She challenged all of us to slow down a bit and commit to mailing one letter a week to someone between now and Memorial Day in May. It doesn’t have to be the same someone. You can choose to mail a letter to someone different each week. You can delight many people.
Like I was delighted this week when in the mail arrived a card from Bree, Reilly’s Mom. She makes handmade cards which are lovely, and she sent one to me because she knew I would be a bit depressed by all the snow here after my wonderful week in sunny New Mexico. Now that’s what I’m talking about. The unexpected, the smile that comes in the mail, the realization that someone thought about you and took some time to send you something to tell you so.
Reilly’s Mom just had a contest to give away some of her artwork. I’m hoping those that won the cards will use them to brighten someone’s day…one card at a time, one note at a time, one stamp at a time.
I’ve accepted PJ’s challenge and mailed my first letter to a friend I’ve been out of touch with last week. This week I have someone else in mind. When I think about it, there are a whole lot of people that I’d like to touch base with more often than the Christmas letter.
I bet if you think about it you have a whole list of people that would enjoy hearing from you too. Why not join me in the challenge. If you have time to spend 30 minutes watching TV during the week you have time to touch someone’s life, to bring a smile to a face, to let someone know they were thought of.
Pretty cool. And thanks Bree!
(All cards photographed here are Bree’s artwork.)