Letters of Love… by JoAnn

A page of an old letter written in french.

The handwritten letter. A thing of the past that kids nowadays know virtually nothing about. I have written hundreds, maybe even thousands, of handwritten letters in my lifetime. It used to be my favorite way of communication. A hobby that I loved and truly enjoyed.

In my day, children learned how to write a proper letter, by hand, in elementary school. A clean sheet of paper and a sharp pencil were all we needed. We strove to perfect our handwriting, first in basic print, then in cursive. I received all A’s in both. I loved handwriting; it was so magical to me. I was a shy girl and had not been brought up in a family that easily expressed their emotions. Either negative or positive. We loved one another very much; we just didn’t go around talking about it. Nor did we express an opinion if we knew it was not the same as everyone else. So talking didn’t come easily for me. I was more comfortable sitting back and listening to everyone else. I had to get to know someone for a good while before I opened up to them.

Writing was different. A letter to a friend or family member was so easy. I wrote to my favorite aunt, several cousins, and many friends, and I even had pen pals. I rarely missed a week that I didn’t receive letters in return in our mailbox. It was such a thrill to get the replies. I was not a phone person. I still am not. But receiving a letter from a loved one gave me a smile that would brighten my whole day. It’s difficult to explain, but receiving a letter made me feel special to that person. They had taken the time to think only of me and handwrite their sentiments while also going through the process of mailing it to me. It took effort, which meant that I was special to them, just as I had tried to make them feel with the letter I sent them.

Everyone has heard of love letters, “Letters of romance.” But I believe all handwritten letters are indeed Letters of Love. A true, old-fashioned way of expressing our feeling of admiration for someone we know is done with love in our hearts. Letters bring joy and warmth to both the person giving and the person receiving the letter.

Today’s emails and texts are amazing! I would never want to give up the convenience of either. They are both crucial to our world’s way of living. But it saddens me that cursive writing is no longer taught in most elementary schools or that it is no longer deemed necessary for a person to have a signature. I believe technology has gone too far with that one. I may not need to sign my name on a paper check to buy groceries anymore, but I believe my children still want to see my handwriting on the birthday card they receive from me.

Maybe I am just too old-fashioned. It has been years since I have received a handwritten letter from a loved one. It has been a very long time since I have sent one myself. That makes me sad. Maybe it’s time I resume one of my favorite old hobbies. Is anyone looking for a pen pal?