The Lost Art of Letter-Writing

Posted: December 11, 2013 in Community, Family, Humour
Tags: , , , , , , ,



I was sitting with an old friend the other night, and amongst some of the topics of discussion, it struck us…we couldn’t remember the last time we had received a hand-written letter.

In this day and age of technology, it is truly a sad thing to note that we have lost a part of our past, seemingly all of a sudden. The written word has been replaced by small dots on a screen. I am as guilty as the next person of course, as I use a computer now more than ever.

It’s not all bad, I suppose. I now am in touch with more people than I used to be. We have snippets of conversation via Facebook, or hotmail, or texting, all forms of electronic communication. Because of this. I am aware that my friend John didn’t sleep well last night, am cognizant that Izzy has been fasting, and can now gorge herself, and that Mathieu got a new haircut that the chicks seem to be digging on. These factoids, and more, are available to me 24/7. I also provide updates to my ‘peeps’ regularly, and often spar with my wife online to see who’ll get in the last word.

I just never thought I’d miss getting a letter…. but I do. Now, when I receive something handwritten, in particular at work, I get paranoid. Is it Anthrax? Do I need a bomb-sniffing dog? I could train my Shih-Tzu, John, to detect any number of nefarious intentions, but unfortunately, John’s I.Q. is basically used up with breathing, eating, drinking, and….well, you know. Handwritten notes are generally bad news, someone letting you know that the cheque they were GOING to send you went to Japan instead, or that it got lost in the mail, and this note was just to let you know they were thinking of you, and that once the body cast comes off, they’ll send you another one.

Someone that used to send me a lot of letters was my mother. Of course, now that we live in the same town, the telephone has removed the necessity of writing. But back in the day, when I worked in the Arctic, she’d send me some great ones. They were the kind of letters you could sink your teeth into. When mom sent a letter, you got a LETTER. Often, they were so large she’d have to put on extra postage. I loved it. When you are a young man, stuck in the middle of nowhere, nothing was better than her letters. The Sears catalogue was a close second, but her letters were always welcome.

How else would I have known that dad had a hole in his socks? Or that he walked around all day last Thursday with his fly down? (my dad is a brilliant, kind man….but, like a lot of Einstein-like people, he’s a wee bit absent-minded when it comes to his own self). How else could I have known my cat missed me? The cat couldn’t write….but mom could!

I don’t thank her enough for writing me these letters, because I know all too well the effort involved with actually sitting down, pen in hand, and thinking enough of someone to write about all the things you miss but are too proud to mention. Those letters were her way of showing love, for sure. Of course, she obviously loved a lot of people, because so many were at the receiving end.

We talk almost daily while she’s in Florida, and several times a day when she’s back here, but it’s just not the same. Perhaps, when she receives the Tribune next week in the mail, and she reads this article, my dad will take her to Staples and load her up with some letter-writing supplies, and she can send me a juicy one.
And this time, I’m gonna keep it and frame it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s