When was the last time you received a nice, handwritten, call it – old-fashioned – note or letter from someone?
I got to thinking of the various letters I received from my grandfather when I was a child. His artistic, Catholic school handwriting on sheets of legal size paper (yes, he was an attorney!) should’ve been donated to the Handwriting Museum of the World, if there was one. He would write from his winter home in Florida, and always give me some sort of assignment, be it a book to read and report on (which I disliked doing in school because I had to), or pick a subject and write about it. I don’t think I have any of them due to the countless moves I’ve made over the years, but his handwriting was just amazing. That’s something that saddens me – to think cursive is no longer taught in school. Handwritten letters, especially in beautiful cursive, seem so archaic, but they still warm my heart.
Later, in my teenage years, I attended an overnight camp called YMCA Camp Tousey for several years, and forged some great friendships. Mind you, this was in the 1970’s when there was no Social Media or texting, so letters from friends I met at Tousey were a treasure (and quite possibly the early stages of social media). Phone calls weren’t really a thing, as my father worked from home and was constantly on our house phone. I would run to the mailbox daily, hoping I would get letters from the “faraway places” they lived. Truth is, faraway in my young mind was actually across town, or in some rare cases, out of state. A letter with good gossip, or what they were up to during the school year, was always a fascination.
My mother always made my siblings and I write the dreaded Thank You Letter when we received a gift, no matter the occasion, or dollar amount. Ugh! Come full circle, I instilled the same value in our kids. Not sure if they will keep the tradition alive – as a mere text message seems to fit the rule of today. Sigh.
The interesting thing about my mom is that she was kind of a packrat. Well, let’s just say the Depression Era caused her to “save” A LOT of…well…stuff. She saved some letters and notes from my years at Camp Tousey – as well as from my 4 years at SUNY-Oswego in the 1980’s.
I recently discovered them and happily recalled that they were brief, and rather to the point:
Camp Tousey letter: “Camp is fun. Please send chocolate chip cookies.” (I made many friends that way)
College Letter: “Can’t write much, on my way to swim practice. PLEASE send money.” (no explanation needed)
My father would respond to the latter request with a crisp $20 or a check – and best of all – a handwritten letter with his unique sense of humor.
If you still have some treasured letters, why not take some time on a rainy day, open them up and enjoy? They are likely there for the reading and the remembrance of some kinder, gentler times – and may even provide some comfort and joy in your life.
Now it’s time to see if I can still write my name in cursive…..