Thursday, January 13, 2011

Get Out Those Pens!

Did you know that January 9-16 is National Letter Writing Week?


Well, now you KNOW!

Sadly, writing letters seems to be a lost art.

(Except for those fans of Justin Bieber.  The USPS processes an average of 6,761 pieces of mail PER SECOND for Justin Bieber alone. Real Simple Jan 2011.)

Instead of writing letters, people send texts and e-mails.

Can you think back to the last time you received a letter in the mail? And I'm not talking the "copied" Holiday Family Letter. I'm talking about the letter written specifically to YOU. A nice, newsy letter, that makes you want to sit down with a cup of coffee or tea before you anxiously open it up to read.

Remember when it was popular to have pen pals? When I was in grade school I had 17 of them! I wrote to people, well, girls, all across the country! I still remember one of their names, Elizabeth Moran, from New Jersey. That's ALL I can remember about her, but, hey, Elizabeth, if you're out there, how ya doing?

I would get so excited to receive a letter from a pen pal. Especially from another state. We didn't do much as a family because we didn't have a lot of money. So it was almost exotic to get a letter from another state! I remember Elizabeth's return label saying New Jersey - the garden state. Boy that left a lot to the imagination!

Our mailbox consisted of a slot in our front hall closet. It always seemed like an adventure to get the mail. First of all, our closet was ALWAYS cold, and it was stuffed with winter coats so I'd have to shove them aside, then drop down the little wooden door to the mail box, and our mail would be sitting there. But I'd also have to make sure there wasn't any mail stuck at the top of the slot. I'd have to reach my arm in the hole all the way up the cold drop box and feel for the top. My heart would beat faster if I found some more mail there! I'd try and tug it down through the slot, but sometimes it would be stuffed so much that I'd have to go outdoors and pull the mail out that way!

My father had been dead five years before my mother passed away. They had lived in the same home for 45 years! All of us kids had the task of cleaning out the house and getting rid of everything so we could sell the house. My sisters and I spent hours in my parent's bedroom, shredding documents and old canceled checks. Imagine our surprise and delight when we stumbled across two love letters that my mother had written to my father. One was before they were married and one was when my father was away in the service. My mother wrote that she had been saving up for their wedding and she already had something like $2.25 socked away! What was so interesting was to see my parents in a different light - to see them as young lovers - and also to read my mother's sense of humor. My sisters and I laughed and cried while reading the letters aloud to each other and it helped ease the pain of losing our Mom.

How about when you see people save their old love letters, tied up lovingly with ribbon then stashed away in a shoebox and stored on a closet shelf? It doesn't seem the same to print out a bunch of emails and staple them together, does it?

So in honor of National Letter Writing Week, why not write a quick letter to SOMEONE, ANYONE? Write a letter as a secret admirer, or a thank you note, or to tell someone they are doing a good job, a love note, a forgiveness note, a this-is-why-I'm-NOT-forgiving-you letter, write your Congressman/woman, write the President, heck you can even write a fan letter to Justin Bieber if you want. Knock your socks off.

If you are interested in writing to a soldier, click the link here for more info.

Who doesn't like the possibilities of a fresh sheet of paper and the sound of a great flowing pen as it scratches along the paper?

So get busy and write! And to give you inspiration, here are some songs that sing about the subject of "letters".

I just LOVE the gravelly voice of this lead singer. And he's trying to look oh so cool while he's singing!

"The Letter" by the Box Tops

How nice that this guy wants to hit on his secretary the day after he finds out his wife is cheating on him!

"Take a Letter, Maria" by R. B. Greaves

Even if you are NOT an Elvis fan, you can NOT help falling in love with him after watching this video!

"Return to Sender" by Elvis Presley

I like this version of this song by the Carpenters.

"Please Mr. Postman" by the Carpenters

Can you think of any more to add to the list?


Valerie said...

I do write letters, Pat, but not with a pen. I type them, using a special handwriting font, because I'm too damn lazy to write longhand. In my favour though, my arthritic fingers can't hold a pen for long. Is that a good enough excuse? I loved this post, enjoyed playing the videos and singing along with the songs.

Brian Miller said...

there is something so personal about putting pen to paper...i have letters i have saved over the years and i can still smell them or look at the handwriting and feel closer...

David Allen Waters said...

My best friend and I always wrote letteres, ever since we were that she has passed, those letters are worth more than gold to glad I have them:)

Eva Gallant said...

I loved these videos! All were wonderful to sing along with. And Elvis! I'd almost forgotten how handsome and sexy he was! Thanks for brightening my morning!

misslynda said...

Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane with those videos. I liked those songs when they first came out and now! I had a penpal in Japan and like you, enjoyed receiving those letters. I send birthday cards - - - sometimes - - perhaps that almost counts for something.

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

loved this post! i've spent so many years at a keyboard that my left-handed writing has gotten worse. it hurts to hold a pen for very long, too (carpal tunne surgery).

i send some cards, though. does that count?

Mama Zen said...

Elvis . . . sigh!