Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Written Word


Remember the excitement of finding a handwritten letter in the mailbox?

Perhaps written by a loved one far away or a pen pal from another country?
I'd like to think those days aren't over.
In fact I long for someone to send me a long letter, full of carefully chosen words and charged with emotion.

A handwritten letter is becoming a lost art because it's so much easier to send an email or text.
After all, writing a letter takes time and effort. To sit down with pen in hand and carefully select the words, write them in cursive, then to have the recipient read them, not just once but over and over.
And to think that the letter could be saved forever in a box, perhaps read by another generation....

Does that generation even know how to write in cursive anymore? Ah, but they don't have to know how to write!
I remember practicing my handwriting in school, trying to make it pretty.

Or writing a secret note to a friend and folding it just so, hoping the teacher didn't catch me. Kids today just text each other!

I had a friend years ago who wrote the most wonderful letters. She was away for three months and would send a five page letter describing her adventures. I hung on her every word as she had a way with words anyway. But it was her beautiful handwriting that I enjoyed as well.
I still have them in my secretary. I can't throw them away because they represent a time capsule of my life. Imagine if her correspondence was sent via email? It would be gone forever.

Last week, I visited our local stationery store, Paper Caper.
It has been on the "Avenue" forever and I'm like a kid in a candy store there.

Imagine, a whole store of cards and stationery all for the purpose of sending a message or invite.
Not an email, Facebook message, or a text, but a handwritten note!
I had a conversation with the owner about how a store like this is becoming outdated with the internet and e-vites. Kind of made me sad...

There is even an online site that allows you to download your own handwriting and send a letter via email. Not quite the same, but I tried it.
Here is what the note looked like that I sent to my daughter.

My 89 year old Mother-in-law doesn't own a computer or even know about email.
She still writes notes and letters to her family and friends, old school style.
When we get a letter in the mail, I immediately recognize her handwriting.
Sadly, I suspect she doesn't get many letters back since we all just want to send her an email.
In a way, she is missing out on a lot, but then, so are we....

When was the last time you wrote a letter?


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34 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I think about this very thing often, when I look at the beautiful letters my friends have sent in the past of the love letters my husband sent during our 5 years of long distance relationship.

I was reminded of this when I read recently that they are no longer teaching kids to write cursive! Can you even beleive that. This is a generation of kids that have so many more advantages than the last but are also loosing out on some important things. When I heard this the image that poped into my head is in the old movies when they tell you to "make your mark" and the illeterate and uneducated your draw and X.

I love to write and receive letters, I think it is even more special these days because everyone is going so fast I think it lets people know that you took the time from your day to devote to them.

Take care, have a wonderful day.

PS Loved all of your finds from the weekend.

gme said...

I have thought a lot about this lately also. I was upset when I learned that my granddaughters would not be taught cursive writing when they begin attending school. So sad, a handwritten letter is such a gift. I recently found some letters and postcards that my daughter had sent me from camp and it was really fun reading them and thinking back to that time when she was younger. It makes me sad to think that our future presidents, judges and doctors will be "printing" their signatures on major documents some day. I've always admired beautiful penmanship simply because mine is so horrible and it's always been something I aspired to.

Terri ~the dressed up cottage said...

I still send CARDS in the mail, no e-cards for me. And with each card I send a personal handwritten note. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the written word and the accompanying items surrounding the writing of letters. I have a lovely stash of stationery and note cards tucked away in my secretary, but sadly hardly any one to send them to. Today, most people don't even want to send out Christmas cards. I feel I'm the last of a dying breed, and I'm holding on my my fingernails.
Having a "Happy Birthday" note sent to your facebook page........doesn't quite do it for me. It seems that when you speak to people about this topic, everyone says they love to 'get' a letter but yet no one wants to send one out.
I use every opportunity to send a handwritten note of thanks, or invitations to a little get together. And I'm doing my best to foster a love of writing to my grandchildren. I send them their own personal Christmas cards, and notes......because it's fun to get something in the mail "JUST FOR YOU". I'll bet you're going to get a lot of responses on this topic.

AntiqueChase said...

I still write thank you notes and get well cards. I have an entire stack of mail from my grandma who still, at 96, writes beautiful letters.

There is something so special about a letter!

Gina said...

A wonderful reminder to write more often. I always send hand written thank you notes. I write them on notes I have hand painted or printed using my hand painted ceramic images.

PURA VIDA said...

Such a provocative post. I too think it's a lost art. My grandmother saved every letter I wrote her and I love looking back and my innocent subjects, spelled the way it sounded, my naive handwriting and how much she loved me that she kept them all..and not just mine but all of her grandchildren's.

Today, I love to write very elaborate thank you notes on pretty stationary and I seal with a wax bumble bee stamp...all the rest...I am guilty to fire off a quick text.
sad face

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Such a good post. My mom hates that no one writes letters or cards anymore and most don't talk on the phone either.

Donna@Conghaile Cottage said...

I agree and talk about this all the time. I had a penpal in England when I was growing up and it took a WHOLE MONTH for our letters to reach each other. How exciting it was to get REAL MAIL! I remember my Mother ALWAYS correcting us to use script, not print when we wrote. To this day she never prints. I also LOVE buying books that have inscriptions in them. Gifts from people who genuinely LOVED the book and meant it for the recipient! I tell anyone who gives me a book as a gift to "PLEASE" write me a note in it. LOVE THAT and OF COURSE It will go into my library. "I DO NOT USE E-BOOKS"!
Thank you for bringing this subject up. It will not be a lost art as long as "WE savoir it"!
Have a wonderful weeks end,
Hugs,
Donna

Linda in AZ * said...

*** I can't even I*M*A*G*I*N*E someone going to the trouble of planning a beautiful dinner for a few friends, and the friends N*O*T HAND-WRITING their THANK YOU NOTE!!!

Here's MY thinking on this: If a hostess can take ALLLLLL that time planning, cooking, setting a wonderful table, etc., a HAND-WRITTEN THANK YOU IS a M*U*S*T, and WITHIN 24 HOURS~~~ (and an E-MAIL is NOT a "Thank You note"!. It's a quick "cop-out", and "DOESN'T COUNT", no matter HOW "B*U*S*Y" you are!!!!!!!)...

NOTE: IMHO, anytime someone does something "SPECIAL" for another, I believe a THANK YOU note is in order. Period. No more discussion needed.

I saved allll my letter from my husband when he was in VietNam. They were PRICELESS to me then, and even MORE PRICELESS now, as the years have gone by (which is MANY!)..

Good topic!!!

XO,
Linda in AZ *
bellesmom1234@comcast.net

Sarah said...

Delores, I'm a fan of hand written notes. I'm guilty of sending off an email rather than a hand written note though too. I love the pretty stationary, the graceful flow of handwriting, and the fact that the note is tangible. I save most of my hand written notes. Like you, I like to go back and read them again.
This is a great post full of thoughtfulness. Thank you!

Debby said...

Words so true. You hardly get a written letter. In our schools they are going to not be teaching cursive anymore. The reason being that children don't read cursive just type. My learning disable son can't read cursive. It was never taught to him. So sad isn't it. I usually only print as it is easier on my hands as I have gotten older. My mother and grandmothers had the prettiest handwriting. When I get a graduation thank you I am always surprised how bad the penmanship is. Oh well.....it is what it is.

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

You post tugged on my heartstrings! As a child I went to a Scottish boarding school and learned italic writing. Then I became a teacher and taught cursive writing to my children. I have a love affair with handwiting!!!!
I have some of the beautiful letters that my father sent to my mother when they were first married and he was serving abroad.
Thanks for this post full of lovely things to spark my memories.
I'm going to try that e-mail that is written in one's personal handwriting!
Great post!
Yvonne

Kat Warren Photography said...

This is such a true post! I was delighted when I opened my mailbox today and found a handwritten thank you note from my daughter. She is just like my mother used to be and always sends lovely handwritten notes! I'm afraid I'm guilty of not writing many letters these days, and I used to be so good about it. I hope wonderful stationary stores never go away!

Kat

bella said...

I love to send handwritten notes and letters. I have beautiful note cards and enjoy using them. There is nothing like the written word. I have had a pen pal for 48 years and we still write newsy letters. I do enjoy email but there is nothing like a handwritten note.

home before dark said...

I have my MIL's letters she wrote to her parents when she was a young bride following her soldier husband during WW II. I also have the letters she saved from me as a young bride. Her handwriting was elegant. Mine was not. But the spirit was the same in both: optimistic and gloriously in love. My MIL died at what I now call the extremely young age of 59. Her letters and particularly her youthful handwriting always move me to tears.

PS Note to self: write more letters!

The Old Farm Bell said...

I love receiving letters & cards. It's that special thought that means so much. I write letters at least once a month & send cards as well. Of course, if I need to correspond super fast...I email. I still enjoy the traditional letters & cards. Always will!

The penmanship on the letters in your photos are exquisite. Really like!

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful post. I'm new here & off to view your Pinterest boards :O)

Have a sunny weekend!

Blessings & Hugs,
Marlene

Kathysue said...

Love this post and could not agree more. The written word has such meaning vs. the typed email words. However I know it is a generational thing, but I too, feel a bit sad that very few ever send a written note any longer. You are right about a whole generation that does not know how to write cursive. Could you send me the link to the site that does the handwriting? xo Kathysue

Cindy said...

Delores- Thank you for this lovely post. It is so sad that letter writing, and writing in general, is becoming a lost art.
I lost my Mother 35 years ago, when I was just 20 yrs. old. To this day, when I pull out one of the many cards and letters she wrote to me, just seeing her handwriting, and "Love, Mom" at the end of each note, brings back memories and feelingsthat could not be brought back any other way.
I taught my daughters to ALWAYS send personal, handwritten "Thank You" notes. And, to send Mom a little note or card, once in a while, just because it is so special to see that little envelope in the mail!
Enjoy the heat wave this weekend!
Cindy D.

Karen said...

The last time I wrote a letter, in cursive, was when my grandma lived in Connecticut and I was living in Texas. I wrote to her once a month, numerous pages. When she died and we went through her things she had kept every letter and card I had sent her during that time. I was so touched. Any letter I write now are done on the computer and I love the convenience. But I miss the personal touch of a handwritten letter. My friends and I still send thank you notes hand written but even that has waned.
Fun post.
Karen

veuvemcd said...

Thank you for this post! I have saved every letter and card I've ever received (I know!), but to me nothing is more special than a hand written letter or card from a friend or family member. Growing up I practiced and practiced on my handwriting, trying to affect my mother's and father's beautiful penmanship that was so highly prized back in the day. To think that this is not even taught anymore amazes, and inspires me to start working with my grandsons today! I am like Kim's mother who laments the fact that so few people write or even want to pick up a phone these days...except to text. It's something I deplore but at the same time, am thankful that in this busy world there is at least that bit of communication. I am forwarding today's blog to my daughters!

Leslie Harris said...

I loved everything about this post; the lovely images gave weight to the thoughtful sentiments. Yes, sometimes I feel like an Emily Dickinson soul living in a Kim Kardashian world. Ha. Nice to know there are others with similar thoughts...Leslie Harris (aka Gwen Moss Blog)

Victoria said...

Unfortunately, it has been far too long since I wrote a letter. In another life, I was a professional calligrapher and I used to write all the time -- not just for my clients but to my friends who had the same passion as I for the beautifully written word. As I have gotten older, life has changed in many ways, as have my handwriting skills. Rather than write something that was no longer up to my own standards, I resort to email. It certainly is easier, but not at all as rewarding. I still keep old correspondences from my "calligraphy friends" and I treasure that time of my life.
I understand that cursive is longer being taught in elementary schools, so this generation will never know the joy of writing to friends -- or real conversation for that matter -- but that is another discussion for another time.
All the best...Victoria

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Libby said...

Thank you for this post. It was meant for me today. Instead of trying to select that "just right" birthday card for my daughter, I was inspired to write her a personal note of just how much she means to me and how proud I am of her. I think this will mean so much more to her and the standard card.

Also, I have my parent's and mine and my husband's love letters that I have been planning to preserve. You have given me the push I've evidently needed to get something done. They are a treasure to be kept.

Thank you for this beautiful post.

Libby @ Beauty Without Within

Shirley@Housepitality Designs said...

This is such a fantastic post...yes, I miss the days of people automatically, because it is just good manners, to write a thank you note, or a note just to say you are thinking of them...

I still write out many notes, invitations, etc...and over a hundred Christmas cards...I find from year to year, the Christmas cards arrive in fewer number...people too busy to take the time....

The internet has allowed us to keep in touch with many, many of our friends and family and that is a good thing...but I really think there needs to be a balance...

Again, great post...

Renae Moore said...

Great post and oh so true!
Bestest to you for a great weekend!

Alison @ The Polohouse said...

Dear Delores,
This is such a gorgeous post.
I was so saddened when our schools stopped teaching cursive a few years back and replaced it with keyboard classes.
I love handwritten notes and try to write thank you's by hand as often as I can.
My father had the most gorgeous penmanship I have ever seen. It could have been cut and pasted and used as professional type fonts! Yes, that pretty!

I have saved everything he ever wrote to me. Makes me cry when I see it.

:)

Great post.
Have a lovely weekend.
xox
Alison

Anne Boykin (bloominganne) said...

I was just thinking about this today while I was shopping. I love to buy lovely cards and beautiful papers but since my mother passed away, well, it's so seldom that I write anyone anymore. Thanks for your great blog - I enjoy it very much.

Dee said...

What a beautiful post - there is something really special about someone taking the time to write a personal note.

Quite co-incidently, my blog post is also about letters written & received

http://deeatthecarlton.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/emails-are-just-not-letters.html

I recently lost my Mom & my Dad & I sorted through the massive pile of letters mentioned in my post & he told me how much joy they brought them & how they were re-read & enjoyed.

Write that letter folks ♥

Dee at the Carlton

Dani said...

Yes.. I was just talking about that this morning with My son! How glad i was when I run to the mail Box to look for letrada comming from My Family in Brasil in earlies '80! Will try to write some to My gradma and My mom, that li és in the farm and know nothing about emails!
Hope to have you visiting My blog over:
porta-guardanapos-dani.blogspot.com
It is all about napkins ring i make for sale!

lifeonthecutoff said...

You touched me with this and I thank you. I miss getting letters. That anticipation of running out to the mailbox and the eagerness to come inside, open one up and read of this and that and life. A lost art, it seems, for many.

I just sent out a handwritten thank you note to a college student, the daughter of a friend, who helped out our garden club with her baking talents. My friend told me how thrilled her daughter was to get the card, saying she never gets handwritten notes, reminding me to do more of writing myself.

Jules said...

How exciting...through Mariette we have just become friends on FB and here I am just in time to tell you that I have a bundle of the most beautiful letters written in the most beautiful script by my husband.
I now treasure every one of them and reread them often bringing him back clear as day!
I also have copies (originals in state library) of letters to my GGG Grandfather!
Me...I write I just don't post them!!!!!!! How lovely to meet you J.

KNOCK ON WOOD said...

Oh, I really appreciated reading this.
Thank you, that was some kind of ointment for my soul. Actually I´ve heard historians say that from our time there will be so few written findings that will be left for future generations because we cannot trust that internet will stay forever and ever. Strange, since there has never been so much written than now.
I am a teacher myself, and agree with you that a pretty handwriting is a joy forever.
Handwritten letters are so much more personal!

KNOCK ON WOOD said...

Oh, I really appreciated reading this.
Thank you, that was some kind of ointment for my soul. Actually I´ve heard historians say that from our time there will be so few written findings that will be left for future generations because we cannot trust that internet will stay forever and ever. Strange, since there has never been so much written than now.
I am a teacher myself, and agree with you that a pretty handwriting is a joy forever.
Handwritten letters are so much more personal!

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