Looking back, I remember how I’d huff and puff when my Mum asked me to send handwritten thank you letters to any relative who had been kind enough to send me a birthday card, containing money, or a book token.
Indeed any gift at all required a huge degree of graciousness, wrapped in a laboriously handwritten, missive. To make the task less painful I was sometimes allowed to choose the notelet as if I actually cared!
Fast forward a few years, and obviously before the invention of email and texting, but after the invention of the package holiday to sunny climes, I made new holiday friends, and we exchanged addresses because the only way to keep in touch was to become pen pals with them. I remember how exciting it was to get a letter, read it over and over again, then reply with indecent haste. Especially if it was from a gawky teenage boy!
But now I’m MUCH older and arguably wiser, and I think it’s sad that the sending and receiving of handwritten letters and notes have all but vanished.
In fact, it seems we now need help to write a business letter, and the internet is full of ‘how to’ information to show us… well, the right way to write various communications such as handwritten real estate letters
There’s so much more to getting a handwritten letter than just reading it. Initially, there’s the surprise factor of it dropping through the letter box in the first place. Then, unless you recognise the writing, the ‘wondering’, who it’s from. The slicing open of the envelope and the gentle retrieval of the paper.
Do you look at the last page first to see who it’s from, or the address if there is one? Then you might scan up and down to see how many pages there are before making a comforting drink to enjoy, whilst you settle down to read your letter.
A handwritten letter requires thought, planning, time, and effort. The writer is letting you into a little part of their world, telling you important news or perhaps inviting you to a celebration, or simply just including you in what’s happening in their life.
Yes of course, sometimes handwritten letters do contain bad news, but I think it softens the blow a bit by reaching you more personally, than an electronic email or text.
Let’s face it, the world would be a poorer place if the Bronte sisters hadn’t received and written so many missives in the Parsonage at Haworth. Their books revolved around waiting for ‘news’ of one dashing suitor or another, via a handwritten note. Invitations to take tea with their neighbours, or to join a soiree, all delivered in flowery handwriting and received with such excitement!
For sure, emails and texts are a huge step forward in communication, and today’s young generation doesn’t know of any other way to get in touch with each other. But whilst it favours the young, it precludes the elderly and those who don’t own or want to own a mobile phone or computer.
Do they still receive those thank you letters and notes for birthday money and gifts they have sent to their families, which I was encouraged to write all those years ago, or are they still a thing of the past too?