Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Has the art of letter writing died?

A recent coversation prompted me to remember writing letters during my childhood. During elementary school when one of my childhood friends moved away, the primary way we kept in touch for several years was through letter writing. I remember the excitement I'd feel when my parents would take me to this children's store called Zany Brainy (anybody else from the Philly area remember that store?), where I'd pick out stationary and stickers to decorate my letters before writing and mailing them. I'm sure those letters are still somewhere in my mother's house, maybe I'll look for them next time I'm home for a trip down memory lane. I even had international pen pals for brief period after a trip I took to Italy and Africa right before I started high school.

I'm sure children and adolescents no longer write letters, as social media, instant messaging and emailing are the accepted forms of communication for younger generations now, and though I love keeping in touch with friends and relatives through Facebook, Twitter, email, texting and staying in touch with professional acquaintences through Linked In; I miss simpler times, when I'd pull out my nicest stationary and compose my thoughts into a letter.

Though letter writing has more cost involved (stationary, pens, postage), it's a more personal way of communicating, and you know that a person took the time, to write you AND locate a Post Office or Mail Box to send you the letter. For this reason, though it's sporadic some years, I still try to remember to send my close friends birthday cards and have even sent Christmas cards, when most people I know have stopped doing this.

So, before you shoot off that thank you email or 'just checking in' Facebook message to a friend, write them a brief note instead and pretend you don't live in a world where social media and technology aren't such dominant forces in the way we communicate with each other.

3 comments:

me in millions said...

OMG! I loved Zany Brainy! And I loved getting letters. I went to sleepaway camp for many summers and the way I kept in touch with friends was with letters. It was so exciting when the mail came and it was for me! Now my mail is all bills and wedding invitations. Lame.

Cents in the City said...

I loved Zany Brainy too! Wow I forgot all about that store. There were always so many interesting toys. I liked to collect the plastic zoo animals, I think I still have a few tucked away in a drawer at my parents' house. Even a walk through that store was entertaining.

It's been a looong time since I wrote a letter. I also miss love notes. Guy never put their feelings on paper anymore, just text messages. lol

Juan Thomas said...

I actually take my time and write letters. Many people say I have one of the most unique penmanships in the world and with that said, I consider it to be a grand gesture twice over to handwrite a letter: (1) to show the recipient that it is indeed a personal thing and (2) to provide them with a momento of my rare penmanship.