When I was young, I watched my father take pen and paper to the dining table each Sunday. He wrote to my grandmother in Louisiana once a week. We didn’t use long distance back then unless someone had died or was in dire need. It was simply too expensive for my working class parents.
In college I wrote my mother letter after letter – sometimes daily that first semester of freshman year. I have kept several dozen from the drawer-full my sister and I found when dad sold their last house. They’re funny to me now. So much studying, so much trying too hard, so many boys and so much angst! And I had forgotten that tuition cost $500.00 and my sorority dues were $1.00/month. In one letter I thank my mom for sending “$2.00 and the stamps!” That probably got me through the next two weeks…
Letters – communication by written word. It took time to write letters by hand, and as you read them you not only hear words but even inflection. Was the handwriting big and loopy and at ease or was it pinched tightly in distress? We, too, had emoticons – hearts and x’s and o’s and other original symbols we made up.
Letters can be kept – tied with ribbons, or rubber bands, string or shoe laces. Perhaps our emails are waiting in the “cloud” but somehow I don’t visualize my children ever returning to the cloud to find communications with me during the 21st century.
I made a decision today without even realizing it until I blinked back tears. I’m going to start writing my adult children every week. Not a text or email or line of emoticons – actual hand written letters. Something tangible they can hold and read in years to come. Who knows what will come up as I write? Not an itemized list of my life, like a diary, but something that made me feel, or important information like – here’s what menopause feels like or here’s you grandpa’s recipe for home-made ice cream.
They will be short because no one wants to read the 6 or 7 pages I wrote weekly to my mom. Apparently they meant a lot to her since she kept a drawer-full and now I get the joy of re-reading them 50 years later.
We say so little in written form these days. Cell phones come with free long distance and unlimited text. Information is spit out in short bursts.
Well, except for me as I send lengthy emails and texts that are so long they separate. LOL. Smiley face.
This will be fun!