As much as I appreciate how easily it is to communicate in this age, I do miss letters. A long awaited letter that had been touched and licked by the sender and sometimes smelled like them, set my young teenage heart aflutter. Depending on the contents, it was something you could read, dissect, analyze the meaning behind those words, re-read, tear up, crumple, uncrumple, kiss, burn, or tuck under your pillow. More importantly, it was something you could keep forever to remind you of who you were or were trying to be, who you loved and who loved you. I'm fascinated how words on a page can make you smile, remember, move you to tears, inflame your passions, and make you fall in love--sometimes all one letter.
It's a bit sad to think that we now live in a world where we barely write letters; where children are not even taught to write in cursive; where the sweet sensation of holding a letter has been replaced by the glare of a monitor, or handheld device. In an age where communication is so instantaneous, we no longer place much value on written letters and how we would have to wait days, weeks, or even months for a reply to a letter. I sometimes wonder if we've dumbed down our messages to each other because we know how little effort it takes to send them and how little value they have when received. In this electronic age, has our communication improved? Do we really sit down and think about what we want to truly say before we e-mail it? I still remember at times taking hours to write a letter. Sometime there would be multiple balls of crumpled paper around me, because I just couldn't sort my thoughts, or couldn't convey how I truly felt. Writing a two or three sentence letter was just a waste and a disappointment to the person who was to receive your words--yet we now do that all the time!
Having moved to the U.S. at a young age, I still remember the weekly letters my mom wrote to her parents. She had a tin box that held the old international "par avion" envelopes, lined paper, and pens. That tin had a place of honor in our home. I still have a lot of those old letters and postcards my grandparents, now deceased, had sent us. I so grateful to have them. To be able to see their handwriting, and how it changed depending on mood, or to be able to make out a letter blurred by an errant tear, is a treasure I fear we have now lost.