Managing to stay in touch with people is so damned easy these days with social media and Skype. I haven’t written (or got) a letter in years. Living in many different countries and not really having a consistent postal address may be part of the reason, but the reality is, few people actually write letters any more.
I spent a 4 day weekend last week catching up with two very dear friends whom I haven’t seen in 20 years. One day they got a little red envelope in the mail, inside which was a thank you note, hand written. They passed it back and forth and read it, and told me about the party the week before that they were being thanked for, and which they were now reliving with smiles. They weren’t surprised by the note, but I felt like I was witnessing an ancient deeply meaningful ritual.
Now it has been a few days and I am predictably a couple of thousand of miles away. I must send a thank you note. Handwritten. Fortunately, I have lined paper, as my script has deteriorated from never good to printing instead of cursive in hopes my scribbling can be deciphered.
No, I won’t be writing that letter here. Hand-written letters convey privacy and almost covert intention. Finding a long lost box of a late friend’s or relative’s letters feels like stumbling on buried treasure. What secrets were conveyed? What can we learn about the life of someone we felt we knew well? Somewhere in a storage place a few thousand miles from where I sit there are letters to me from John and other friends. We were correspondents. Some are mashy love notes, some reflections of current circumstances long forgotten. I hope in a couple of years to sit with these letters and drop a few tears. My collected emails will never inspire that.
Here’s to letters. I hope I can revive that habit. I’ve now added yet another reason to find a little casita to call home, with a mailing address and a little box beside which I’ll sit waiting for the letter carrier.
My Dearest __________,
With Warmest Hugs,