Daily Archives: March 11, 2012

What Happened to the Love Letter?

Do you send birthday cards? Anniversary or Christmas cards? Valentine’s Day, Easter or Labour Day cards? 🙂 I know you send some or all of those. Who doesn’t? When was the last time you actually sent a non-holiday or special occasion card or letter – a real one! Not an e-card or email!! – to someone in your life? Not just your lover or spouse. It could be for a friend, family member or even an old college buddy.

When my best friend went off to university in another city – two hours away but at the time it felt like we’d never see each other again – we used to send each other cards all the time. Just plain ones, saying ‘hi, what’s up?’ or funny ones to make each other laugh. I used to have an actual pen pal, in England, I believe. I couldn’t even tell you her name now. We corresponded for about a year when I was maybe eight or nine years old. My cousins and much of my extended family live in Winnipeg, so my cousin, Sarah, and I used to write letters to each other, sending pictures of things we thought the other would like. I still like to send cards and packages with hand-written notes in them to my friends in far-off places.

So what happened? Why doesn’t anybody do that anymore? The obvious answer is that we do still write to each other, but it’s via the internet. Facebook, emails, Twitter and a slew of other methods I wouldn’t have a clue about. I’m not saying I don’t use those outlets as well, because I do. I’ll send a quick text to my brother or friends to figure out a plan for the weekend. I’ll facebook someone or write on their wall when I think about them. There’s nothing wrong with using those outlets. It’s easy, free – except for texting, depending on your mobile plan – and often, you get the instant response we all crave.

What about just writing something just for the sake of writing? In the olden days, people wrote to each other just to catch up and let them know what was going on. In today’s world, our closest friends are often physically our closest friends. We can pick up a phone and call them, send a text or walk down the street and drop in for a cup of coffee. What if your closest friends weren’t so close? What if you had to save separately just to talk to someone long distance on the phone? What if you could only facebook them and chat on-line? Would you be more inclined to write a card or letter to them? Maybe not that often, I suspect.

But… what if that person was the love of your life?

I’ll tell you something, I love to write letters. I love to write emails too, come to think of it. I am practical and it costs nothing to send an email, while sending a card or letter via snail mail costs money. I love just sitting down and writing a letter to someone, sharing what’s new and asking how things are where they are. I love being able to edit an email before I send it, correcting any spelling errors and whatnot. 😉 But even hand-writing a card or letter is a wonderful thing, errors and all. I think seeing the smudge of a finger or scratched out word is so personal, you can almost feel the person writing to you.

I especially love the idea of a love letter. How amazing would it feel if you were seeing someone, even someone who lived two blocks away, and one day in the mail, between stacks of bills and flyers, you see an envelope hand-addressed to you. Do you wait to open it after the bills? Of course not! You tear into it, thinking it might be a card and check from Grandma, or a thank you note from your girlfriend after a baby shower. Instead, it’s a love note, written in choppy printing or angled cursive expressing how much you are thought of, desired and loved.


Doesn’t that just make you melt? That someone thought enough of you to take the time to pick a card, uncap a pen, and write what they think of you? My goodness. If you knew something so simple could get such a reaction, would you do it more often?

As much as I love to receive those sorts of letters, I also love to send them. And not because of any desire or need to get a letter in response. I just love sending them.

Is it a dying habit? Probably. I’ll do my part to keep it going, as often as I can afford to. I love putting together packages to send to my friends. I love writing what I’m thinking about someone into a card and imagining their reaction when they receive it. If I could afford to keep a PO box, I’d list the mailing address here and wish that my readers would send postcards from all over the place!

For now, I’ll leave for the week, wondering and hoping that you’ll reach out to someone in your life like this. It’s never, ever, a bad thing to let your loved ones, near and far, know that they are in your thoughts and cherished.

Take care and happy reading.


Filed under Writing