Sunday, March 31, 2019

Do the Write Thing

From "Don't Forget to Write," National Review Online
It’s outdated. It’s slow. It takes time, concentration, and forethought. But it is incredibly worthwhile — especially if you’re on the receiving end.
~ Sarah Schutte

It's becoming an increasingly rare occurrence for all of us, receiving a handwritten missive in our residence's mailbox. But I think all of us would agree, when it does happen it's an exciting moment.

In the midst of flyers and solicitations, we spot an envelope with a colorful stamp and a splash of cursive handwriting or careful printing underneath, directing this precious paper rectangle exclusively to us. There's a rush of anticipation as we glance to the upper left-hand corner of the envelope.Who is it from? What will it say?

I suppose everyone has a personal system for approaching the opening and reading of a handwritten envelope. Perhaps you rip it open immediately, or place it in some kind of order with the other mail. I always save the handwritten mail for last. The "junk mail" is disposed of first, ripped and tossed into the recycle bin. Then I move to any bills or official correspondence, filing in the proper place as necessary. Only then do I sit down and settle in to open and savor my treasured piece of handwritten communication. I usually read it a least three times, just to be sure I didn't miss anything,

In our age of instant communications, it's a loss for all of us that writing letters has so quickly become a quaint custom of yesteryear. Even I, who used to write several letters of many pages weekly, have been reduced hand-writing only the occasional birthday or thank-you card. Those notes aren't letters, but at least that's something. To quote one dear friend of mine, who loves to send greeting cards: "there's nothing like getting a card in the mail." She's right. No electronic posts, messages, or tweets can simulate that unique thrill of opening your home's mailbox and seeing familiar handwriting smiling out at you.

Handwritten notes inside greeting cards--birthday wishes, Christmas updates, thank-you messages--are all delightful. But as to the last handwritten, multi-page letter I received, I don't know if it was three, five, or ten years ago. I only know that I wish they would come more often.