Sunday, 6 February 2011

Remembering a letter...

Maybe it's because I'm watching "A Room with a View", where letters fly back and forth across Europe and England.  Or maybe it's because I've just written some Valentines to mail instead of sending electronic hearts and flowers.  But I am thinking about letters...real letters, not e-mails or text messages or IM conversations.

No, I mean a real paper letter in an envelope, that arrives in the mail, amid the ads and bills.  A letter awaited, and checked for day after day, or a letter that arrives unexpectedly.

A letter can be tucked in a purse or pocket, and taken somewhere to read later...or ripped open and read on the spot, and then re-read again and again. Yes, there are a few letters one dreads to open...a note that's sure to be a "Dear John", or a letter that is sure to hold bad news or anger. But most letters, even short ones, are wonderful to find amid the otherwise dull mail.

Upstairs in my bedroom, there's a large binder filled with letters -- letters from friends while I was in high school and college.  They pretty much stop at that point...e-mail took the place of letters.  But there are wonderful treasures there...descriptions of new adventures, new boyfriends (or the dumping of old ones!), letters from two friends who were living in Europe and sent me descriptions so vivid I felt that I was there, exploring old streets and new works of art. Each letter carries the writer's handwriting, many are decorated with little drawings and last-minute added thoughts around the edges, with arrows pointing to where they would have gone. Had those letters been e-mails, they would have been long since deleted, or at very best (and even this is so rare) printed out and stored as impersonal print on a page. 

I miss letters.  I miss writing them, and I miss receiving them. I miss holding them, and re-reading them for details missed the first time around -- or the second. In the movie, at this moment, one of the characters, is reading a letter -- she's tucked in bed, pillows piled up high behind her, the lamp lit. She opens the envelope and with a wonderful sound of paper cracking, smiles and settles back to read.  No Netbook or iPad on the planet can match that moment.


Jean said...

It's funny. I feel the same way. My mother, who passed almost two years ago, was the last person to write to me regularly. I often come across her letters tucked into books and bins and I love reading them all over again. Bless you.

sara said...

I agree, I love handwritten letters. I too, love to go back and read and reread them. I love to share them with my kids. Every year for Valentines day, I write a letter to my kiddos in a sealed envelope. Just for them to keep. When I was putting clothes away the other day, I could've cried, opened my 13 year olds drawer to find his letters. Nothing is as special as a hand written letter or card:)

seeker said...

Sara, that is a wonderful idea, and what a sweet thing to find!

Jean...a letter seems to bring them back for a bit, doesn't it? Such a precious thing to keep/find.

Anna said...

Hi Lindsay! Such a beautiful post. I'm very sentimental and also treasure all my letters...I even save receipts from special occasions like birthday dinners, lol. Love 'Room With A View'...oh, I actually came by to say I'm excited to be your ATC swap partner! You can email me anytime and we can swap info. Nice to 'see' you again :)