Sunday, November 18, 2012

You've Got Mail

Letter Writing by denisetakespics
Letter Writing, a photo by denisetakespics on Flickr.

I got two letters in the mail yesterday.

I did a happy dance, right there at the mailbox.

"So?" you say, "What's so special about two letters?"

Don't you get it?

Letters. You know, where someone takes up a pen, finds some decent writing paper and starts with "Dear Molly." Someone you actually know --- mom, dad, aunt, niece, cousin, sister, friend?

Well, let me put it another way....

When was the last time you got a letter in the mail?

Yes, I know all about e-mails and texts and two hundred and seventy five friends on Facebook and
tweeting and twittering, which I leave to the birds....But when was the last time someone wrote you a letter? Addressed to you in someone's unique handwriting? To only you, not everyone in their "contacts" list. And after they wrote it, they looked up your address, then found an envelope, stuck a stamp on one corner and a return address label [of which we all have millions] on the other, then carried it to the mailbox and dropped it in.  All this in addition to what was written between "Dear So-and-So" and "Love from Such-and-Such."

Yeah, that kind of letter!

It doesn't happen much anymore. Which is why I did my happy dance. You would too, I'm sure. And two in one day? That called for a Tango and a Cha-Cha!

I made a cup of tea, got through the junk mail and curled up on the couch to read, purring like a cat.

The first was from Kimmie's mom. After I wrote the post about Kimmie, I decided to drop Sarah a line. Our lives have drifted in different directions now and are pretty much reduced to a card at Christmas. But I wanted to let her know I still think of Kimmie and remember her sweet smile. She said it meant a lot to have someone talk about Kimmie and remember her. Even though her life is full now with two grown sons and seven grandchildren, there are not too many who remember, or even knew her precious daughter.

The second was from Marilyn, a friend I've know since before Lily was born. When my dad was dying and I had to rush home to Ireland from California, it was Marilyn who stepped up and helped the OC take care of four month old Lily. You don't forget that kind of gesture. Now that our children are grown, we regularly e-mail, and swap books and interesting articles, but once in a while, because we're unashamedly old-fashioned, we sit down and write a real letter.

End of story?


Do you believe, as I am more and more inclined to, that there is no such thing as co-incidence?

My e-mail last night had a new set of TED talks. One of them was by a young woman, Hannah Brencher. Her talk was on Love Letters To Strangers. You should watch it. It moved me to tears.
I watched it several times and each time noticed an idea or phrase I hadn't picked up on the first time. It made me remember how good I used to be about staying in touch through letters, and how lazy I've become. It made me realize there are people in my life who are very are important to me.

Important enough to write them a letter?

"You betcha!" as they say in Minnesota.

And now, would you like to join Sarah, Marilyn, Hannah and me in a happy dance?



Wisewebwoman said...

Oh I am soooo delighted I discovered you through Secret Agent Woman's blog.

Me too! Me too!

Bred and buttered in Ireland and those nuns, the good ones tend to recede behind the horrible ones.

And yes I have the odd bit of written correspondence too.....

A dying art.


dianne said...

no one sends me letters anymore ... i get cards in the mail from Auntia, even though we live in the same house, because she knows how much i love receiving mail - and sometimes she'll leave me a note at the coffeemaker ... but i think the last letter i received was from my mom, and it was long, long ago ... a few months ago i wrote letters to an old friend from high school, and to an old friend from when i worked in Corporate America - the first sent me an email and asked why i hadn't emailed, and the other didn't open it for months because she isn't used to getting anything in the mail except bills and junk, so she doesn't even look at her mail till it is tax time ... sigh ... i miss letters

Secret Agent Woman said...

I will watch that TED talk- sounds interesting.

I used to get regular letters and enjoyed them except for trying to decipher handwriting. And writing letters by hand is painful for me (carpal tunnel problems). But I have one friend who corresponds by email with me and I look forward to his long letters, even if they aren't on paper. Better for this clutter-phobe, actually, because they don't have to be stored or discarded.

patty said...

Molly, I received a letter from my penpal in Finland this week. We correspond by both written and email letters. And you are right it is nice to get mail!

Friko said...

I shall sit down right now and write a letter to a friend who has been waiting for my reply for months now.

I love receiving letters.

Thimbleanna said...

Well, I'm definitely jealous! I love letters, but don't get them very often. And how 'bout those Christmas cards? Do you do the form letter to everyone? I still hold out and write a long letter on each card. Only one ever comes back in return. Can't wait to see the Ted talk -- I LOVE Ted talks. Do you get some sort of e-mail that tells you about new ones available?

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I do include letters ( NOT the same one ! ) in Christmas cards , otherwise there are old friends fom another life who'd never hear from me .
But these days , I'm lazy and just phone or email . Grandsons do , however , get the odd postcard ...

Lee said...

Molly, I write a weekly article for the local little rag up here on the mountain where I dwell...and I've just written one that almost mirrors your sentiments in this post.

It is very rare to receive a hand-written letter in the mail box these days, I agree. But, on the other hand, communication really is on the rise because of the Web, social networking etc.

Pam said...

I do know what you mean - who looks forward to the post any more? - but I'm just as happy with a nice newsy email as with a paper letter. Well, almost.

You've let me down with the NaWhatever... I find it only too easy to burble bloggily away to little effect - so much more fun than doing more important things. But saying anything worth saying is more difficult!

Murr Brewster said...

As a matter of fact, I just got a letter from a friend of mine who wanted to wish me a happy birthday (two months late) and tell me he was on a mission to write real letters to the people who mattered most to him, and I was the first. There's no delete button for those.

Pam said...

Thanks for the book talk. I only ever read one M Binchy (can't spell it?) and thought it was a bit nothingy. Never heard of the lady you suggest. Will investigate once I remind myself of her name...)

Pam said...

Oh dear, have investigated that writer and she sounds rather... invigorating. Hmm. Edinburgh libraries don't stock her.

(We live in a tiny street, a cul de sac, with 5 houses all lived in by people our age who're trying to get rid of things rather than acquire them, alas. If I'd put my mum's chairs outside they'd get rained and snowed on for months. There's no passing traffic.I did consider putting them on a giveaway website but somehow I had to get it done yesterday when I was in the right frame of mind. And they were quite elderly chairs, pink velvet with fringes and button backs, though in good nick as chairs owned by old ladies usually are. )