Letters

Letter writing has gone out of fashion. It’s so much easier and faster to correspond via social media. You can dash off a tweet or an email in less time than it takes to boil an egg. And often with even less thought.

Writing a letter is a process. You must find paper and pen to start and then an envelope and stamp to complete the task. You might have to locate an address which could be in the little book where you record such details. If only you could find the book. But even if you’ve completed all the steps in the process, you are not done until the letter is mailed. This involves a trip to the post office and there are not as many of those as there used to be. I find it strange that post offices lurk in the back of drug stores. So finally, you drop your letter into the little slot provided and it will be on its way with the next pickup. No wonder people use twitter or email to send messages.

I wrote a few thank you letters with my mother standing over me when I was young. Her best friend from childhood married a Canadian and went to live in Toronto. She sent my sister and me exotic Christmas gifts and we always had to express our written gratitude. Because of Edith, Toronto held a special appeal for me and I wonder now if that influenced my decision to move to Canada many years later.

My letter writing career started in earnest with boarding school. One of the items on the list of stuff we had to bring with us was a writing case. I had never seen one before and the brown leather case greatly pleased me. I have always had a thing for pens and paper. Inside my case which closed with a zipper were slots for a pad, envelopes, stamps and a pen as well as place for letter received. We had to write home on Wednesdays and Sundays. I never minded that chore and developed a letter writing habit which stayed with me for many years. Much to our annoyance, our letters were handed in unsealed and we imagined the headmistress reading them and discovering private family details. As if she had the time to read 300 letters each week. I suspect now she might have looked at a letter if the writer seemed unhappy in some way.

I can write more about letters and what they mean to me so will continue next week. If you don’t want to read more about my correspondence, then you have been warned to stay away from the following blog.