Monday, April 13, 2009

Handwritten letters

Last week I sent a birthday card to a friend in Virginia--a real paper card, not an electronic one. Several days earlier, I received an Easter card from another friend, along with a wonderful handwritten note and, because of who she is, a bunch of little paper Easter cutouts. Luckily I caught them all before they scattered all over the floor. However, that would have been okay--they were real, not virtual, and it was fun to have to worry about them.

I started thinking about how things have changed so much in the past few years, about how I used to write actual letters all the time and send real cards for holidays, birthdays, and "just because." Yes, it took more time than pounding out a quick email or clicking on an online Hallmark card. Yes, it cost a little more for the card, paper, and stamp. I also had to hand-write the address and stick the card or letter out in the mailbox to be mailed. But, I've always loved receiving actual written correspondence from friends and relatives and I've been known to hang onto them for a long time, perhaps even saving them in a scrapbook of some kind.

How many of you have received a real love letter from someone you care about very much? Have you thought about how much thought and care must have gone into that letter? Do actual birthday cards from friends make your day that much better, knowing someone cares enough to buy and send the card?

I'm as guilty as anyone else in taking the easy way out with e-mail and e-cards. For one thing, it's almost impossible to be late in sending a card: there are so many at the touch of a few keystrokes on the keyboard. I enjoy receiving fancy and entertaining cards with music and animation. I love the thought and care that friends put into selecting them for me, and I try to do the same for them as well. Sending email is very easy, and it's possible to write long letters quickly to friends and family in all parts of the world.

What's missing is a good way to physically save those cards and letters to read and savor many more times, perhaps at a time when you need an uplift or are feeling down or thinking no one cares. So many times I've appreciated reading letters again and again, feeling and experiencing the care and love that went into the writing of them.

It's a little late for New Year's Resolutions. However, I'm going to try to write more letters and send more cards. Who knows - perhaps mail carriers might even begin delivering things other than bills and ads. At least that's my wish.

So, if I have your "snail address," please expect a letter or short card soon. That's a promise.


Old Newsie said...

On occasion, I have abandoned this computer , pulled out a pad of paper, picked up four or five pens until I found one that worked, and written a letter. I should do it more often. I am committed to this writing machine and I think I should get uncommitted.Yhree of the few letters I have written have come back to me - "address unknown," which means "you didn't write soon enough and I moved long ago" OR (hEAVEN FORBID) "addressee deceased"

Chuck said...

If you really want to impress someone with your talents in the snail mail category, Google search "Paper Engineering" and you'll find templates to do what are called "Pop-Up" cards. You can print the patterns from their websites. Use scissors to cut along the lines, then with a bit of paste put them together, and with a bit more effort you can color them appropriately.


spiritualastronomer said...

Chuck, that sounds like wonderful fun! Thank you.