Baby Boomer Babbling-er-Musings

I'm from the baby boomer generation. I have a mop of white hair, courtesy of my gene pool. And a botox-free face that sports frown lines in the forehead and around the eyes. Love handles instead of a waistline. Can't say I'm exactly crazy about any of these old age indicators but I accept them with grace. And now I've lived long enough now that I ponder on a lot of things, new and old.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

ISYALS. Or not. The lost art of letter writing.

When is the last time you wrote someone a letter?  Not an email or a text message or even a greeting card, one with a pre-printed message inside where all you did was sign your name.  I’m talking about laying out a piece of paper, picking up a pen and actually writing heartfelt words to someone else.  I’m talking about carefully folding this handwritten latter, then placing it in an addressed envelope, putting a stamp on it, and placing it in the mailbox.   

You can’t ever remember writing letters?  Well, that tells me your age so ask your mother about it.  She’ll remember the olden days.

Since the sixth grade I have had a love affair with the written word.  That was when my teacher, Mrs. Culp, asked us to write a short story about Christmas and I found that I enjoyed stringing words together on paper to form narratives.  So it was natural that I eventually became a big fan of writing letters.

I recently read that researchers have found that most people prefer to use the phone when they have something to say.  Some will dial a number and actually speak with the other person but more and more people prefer to text.

Texting.  Don’t even get me started on that form of communication.  I don’t text often because I just can’t bring myself to slaughter the English language in such a way.  In the future, history books will say that this was beginning of the downfall of the English language and the loss of grammar and spelling. 

B/C AFAIK when UR txtng, no 1 sez 2mrrw ISYALS.  (Translation:  “Because as far as I know, when you are texting, no one says tomorrow I’ll send you a letter soon.”)

After I married and subsequently moved to another city, I began to write (and receive!) letters.  I wrote letters to my Mom and my friends.  Eventually I found pen pals, three women whom I had never met but came to know and love through years of corresponding by letter.  We still stay in touch, but these days mostly through email.  One of those pen pals, my friend Carol, will still occasionally surprise me with a handwritten letter. 

Finding a letter in my mailbox from a faraway friend still fills me with happiness. There is an eagerness to open the envelope, unfold the pages, and then to savor the words – words that leap off the page as a feast to my eyes. 

It’s hard for someone who has never received a handwritten letter to understand.  But if you are like me and you have boxes of love letters from a beau or saved letters from a cherished friend or family member, then you know that warm feeling when the miles fade away and you can almost hear that person’s voice as you read their words.  You know that they took time out of their day, thinking only of you, to put their words lovingly to paper.

In an increasingly isolated world where we only communicate with each other by text or email, a letter is a truly personal gift to give someone.  Pick up that pen!  Write a letter to someone day!


I’ve also been reminiscing, pondering, and musing on these topics:

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