Does anyone under the age of 30 even know what a “love letter” is? Back in the day…before smart phones, computers, the internet, instantaneous communication, there were letters. Real letters. Handwritten. Thought-out. Emotional. Confidential. Meaningful. Heartfelt.
Back in the day, people spoke on telephones, in person, and managed to engage with one another without the use of any electronic devices whatsoever. And they wrote to each other. Love letters. Letters home from camp. Postcards from faraway places, like Ocean City, Maryland. Slips of paper passed in school. Grocery lists. Letters to friends. Letters to distant relatives. Thank you notes. RSVP notes. People wrote stuff down. And it meant something.
If you don’t understand the difference between receiving a handwritten love letter from your significant other and getting a random, frisky text message, then you’ve never gotten a proper missive. Seeing the actual handwriting of the person you care about, interacting with the paper, the ink, the emotion present in the way the words are presented on the page, considering cross outs, where your lover or friend had trouble and decided to change his or her word choice, taking in the entirety of the piece without scrolling, touching the same sheet that was touched by the person you love…it’s not the same as glancing at a text and firing back an answer. Replies used to take time, consideration, care.
Waiting for the mail each day when you were expecting to get a letter was sweet agony, wonderfully rewarded when you saw that handwritten envelope with your name on it and recognizing the writing as that of your beloved. Running in the house, up to your room, closing the door, savoring the letter in private. Reading it again and again. Are those days gone forever?
Handwritten letters and cards and notes are authentic. Your recipients know you are the only one who could have written them. They know how much time you took to put down your thoughts on paper or note cards, to find a working pen, a blank envelope, to locate your mailing address, to purchase a stamp, to drop it in a mail box. Don’t forget the patience you have to exercise in knowing it could be days or even weeks until your recipient gets your communiqué.
Not everything has to move at the speed of light. Why not take some time and think about writing an actual, physical letter to send to someone you love? Make it a substantial letter, not a sound bite suitable for a text message, something your friend or lover can relish, enjoy, and possibly even write one back.
Have a listen to TTB’s version of The Letter, the song that inspired me to continue hand writing notes and letters….