Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The lost art of letter writing

I read in the paper the other day, that at least 20 or more post offices will be closing in small towns all over Iowa. What a shame. I'd really miss our post office here in lone tree.
Who out there doesn't love to go to the mail box and discover a handwritten letter addressed to you. It's exciting and the anticipated joy of reading what a friend or family member took the time to write. All the junk mail and charities and bills, but finding a letter amongst all that garbage is a real pleasure. It also something that can be saved and read over and over. Something that years later can be found in a long forgotten box and read again and bring joy and fond memories once again.
I happen to save every letter anyone has ever sent me. It's like a form of recorded history from my life. What was going on at that time in my history.
When my family and i were going thru mom house, sorting and throwing things. We came across a LARGE box full of letters. All separated into 4 piles. 1 for each of us. Letters from all the kids (4 of us) from the time we left home to present. Another box full of letters my Dad had written my mom, asking her to marry him. (i wish i had her letters that she had written him)
When i got home. I started pulling out letters I had written from when i was 18 and 19 years old and in college. I read what i had written and thought. If i had been mom and dad I would have arranged an intervention, Or traveled to Iowa City to drag me back home. When i wrote i was very truthful in what i was doing. Lets just say i was a party girl. But, it really brought back many memories that had disappeared many years ago. It was a treat to read them. I also got my hands on about 50 or more years worth of dairies that my mom wrote in religiously every day. VERY COOL!
So, everyone! Go write someone a letter.


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Oh yes, we feel that it is so sad that the email has to all intents and purposes replaced the written letter on paper. And, as you say, there is such a thrill to receive a letter in the post and it is always there for keeping and rereading at leisure.

How wonderful to have discovered the box of your mother's letters. Clearly she treasured them and appreciated what news each and every one of you had to share. And, what fascinating records of her life are contained within her diaries and journals. An inspiration for you to follow!!

Gayle said...

Hey! I see one of the letters is addressed to "Miss Rosemary" in Auburn Wa.........that's not very far from me!!

You are so sad that future generations aren't going to have the pleasure of reading through old letters like you just did.
Another sign of the economy? What does a stamp cost these days?
Letters are the new luxury.

Gary said...


What a most poignant post you offer this evening. I agree most wholes heartily with you that it is a loss of a most cherished art form. But as we see more and more of the local post office close I can not help but think of it as the passing of one more social and cultural identifier. People of my generation have witnessed the disappearing of many of these identifiers.

Gone are the summer ice cream trucks that offered a belief, cooling respite on a hot day. Gone is the sound of a squeaking hinge of a screen door opening and closing. Gone is the soft mummer of several generations laughing and talking in the shadows of a deep porch. And gone is a young child watching for the mailman to come into sight and then running to the mail for that special thrill of have the mail placed in our own hand by this very important person and thus the great responsibility of delivering “the mail” the final steps to the house.

Thank you for you post which has brought such a flood of my own memories, I think I’m going to go and write a letter now, hoping you are having a great week. – gary

A Wild Thing said...

I too am afraid that they will close the Fruitland PO, they just got it opened again after the tornado leveled it. But their service is so shitty anymore. I ship a lot of heavy boxes of soap and if you don't pay for the extra services like insurance and confirmation, Lord knows where it'll go to...and I swear they just do a fly-by and drop from 10,000 feet. I have had packages totally explode that were wrapped in heavy duty boxes and wrapped with a maze of packaging tape.

But I agree, there is nothing so personal as a hand written letter...especially if it has a check in it...ha! Wonderful family gems you have sista!

Bohemian said...

I lament that letter writing has become a Lost Art. I used to write manuscript sized letters and send photos with them to my long time Friends & Family who no longer live close by. Alas, only my 80 year old Uncle still writes back consistently enough that its reciprocal, so I've slowly diminished sending letters & photos to those who prefer the more high tech methods over the old Lost Art of personalized correspondence. Perhaps why I've dived into this enjoyable World of Blogging... it satisfies my Writer's craving?! *winks* And so many are appreciative of the efforts and that too is very satisfying and meaningful.

I think its wonderful that you have saved so much of what you have a History of in Letters, quite a Legacy.

Dawn... The Bohemian

cconz said...

gayle ,my mom lived in auburn, i still have relatives out that a way, Armatis was her maiden name.

gary, we're getting to be the old timers. YIKES! lone tree still has a neighborhood ice cream truck.We still have a screen door that slams shut. But, to many plants to have chatting sessions with friends. We are hanging on to the past with our fingertips.