Tuesday, January 28, 2014

fading letters

Receiving letters from loved ones is quickly becoming a bygone practice.  I enjoy social media just as much as the next guy, if not more, but I miss letters.  I still write letters to my cousin Beverly in Columbia, SC and my sister Jennie who lives in Rock Hill.  Now Beverly isn't online but Jennie is. Even though Jennie is on facebook and has an email address, I often prefer just going the snail route and put ink to paper.

I enjoy composing the letter, sticking it in an envelope, sticking a stamp on it, then take a walk to the mailbox.  I enjoy receiving letters too.  The majority of letters I get these days are junk mail and bills.  One of these days we won't need mailboxes at all.  Our grandchildren will look at an old picture and ask, "Grandaddy, what's that in your front yard?"  "That's a mail box, back before computers we had mailmen who picked up and delivered mail."  Yes, one of these days we'll more than likely have to explain the abandoned practice to a generation who never wrote or received a letter in the mail.

I have filed away a thick accordion folder filled with letters from family and friends that I've saved down through the decades.  Each are a window into my past, into my family's past.  I have a letter my dad wrote me while I was studying art in Atlanta back in 1985.  I have a stack of letters mom wrote me from '90 through '96 while Gina and I were living in Kentucky.  During that same time my brother and I wrote back and forth a good bit.  I have lots of precious letters from aunts and uncles who are now deceased.  I treasure all these old letters.  It's kind of sad to think that my children and their children will not have this experience.  They will not have such precious artifacts as old letter from loved ones.  They might have emails but hard drives die and digital information will be lost if hard copies are not made.  Messages, comments, texts - all data lost.

People don't write letters like they used to.  Good penmanship is a dying art because we are writing less and less.   So much is lost and so much will be a thing of the past.  I don't have to write letters, there are quicker cheaper means to tell people how we're doing and what's going on - quicker ways to tell someone that we love them.  I am finding myself writing letters for the enjoyment of it.  Maybe those letters I've written will be kept in a special keepsake place to draw from in years to come.   Maybe they'll pull a letter out every now and then when I am gone and remember our relationship and that I loved them.

Write soon.

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