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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Penpals - A Lost Art

There really is nothing better than getting a letter or card in the mail. So often we are so busy that we forget the pure joy of opening a card that someone hand-picked for you or reading a letter that was written for your eyes only.

When I was in grade school, I had a pen pal. I wish now that I had not lost touch with her. She was in another country and we exchanged many letters, learning all types of things about each other that would not have been shared otherwise. I came across some of these letters recently, filed away in an old box of school keepsakes. I re-read several of them, holding them to my heart after I finished and relishing the written words on the pages. In these letters as children, we shared our hopes and our dreams. We wondered about our futures, we wished wondrous things for each other. We talked about siblings, our family, our schools, what our future husbands might be like and many, many other subjects.


I wonder what her family looks like now, how many children she had or did not have. How her life has turned out? Was she successful? Did she become a teacher like she wanted to or did her life take her down a completely different path?

Reading her letters made me want to reach out to someone, anyone and start a new mail chain. Reach out and touch someone the way she and I touched each other and made our large worlds seem smaller in some way. We were oceans away from each other, but every time I got a letter from her the distance seemed to fall away like she was right next door.

In our electronic age, we are dehumanizing and forgetting how to simply reach out and touch someone with the caress of our written words. We are forgetting how to personalize things and make them expressly for those you care about. I often told my fiancé, now husband of almost 20 years, that I would much rather get a handwritten note from him, even just a few sentences. Something like that means so much more to me than flowers or candy or any gift he could give me. Often the best things in life cost very little. A stamp still is less than a dollar today. Stop now, today and write something to someone you love and put it in the mail to them. I promise it will make a big difference.

Questions and/or comments are welcome.