Remember the days when letter-writing was not only fun, but pretty much the only way you could stay in contact with long-distance friends? I had a friend in 7th grade who moved across the country after school let out for the summer. For the next 20-something years, she and I corresponded via letters. We celebrated birthdays, Christmases, marriage, and childbirth via the descriptive letters we penned. We experimented with stationary and cute stamps, her handwriting not changing a bit of the years while mine changed with the tides. I loved experimenting with my handwriting. It wasn’t until we discovered each other on Facebook a few years ago that the letter-writing ceased. Now, we still celebrate each other’s happy days, sad days, and in-between days, but sharing these times via cyberspace just isn’t the same as it was when we were eagerly waiting for each other’s handwritten letters in the daily mail.
I’ve recently had the chance to start writing letters again. I have to admit I jumped right into it as if I had been writing letters this whole time. I spend half a page describing a funny incident that happened that particular day. I print out funny Facebook cartoons and tuck them into the stationary note cards I buy for the sole purpose of corresponding with someone in another state. I was talking with a co-worker today who laughed about his letter-writing days and how he felt his words were a bit 18th-century, but he was unable to change the tone because it was fun. We get satisfaction from writing a letter, from letting our minds flip through our endless files of memories and stopping on a moment that simply needs to be shared with your recipient, and turning that memory into a literary tale. When we write letters, we all step back into time a bit, a time when life went by at a slower pace, things were a bit simpler, and letter-writing was as natural as breathing.