Friday, May 10, 2013

Lost Art of Letter Writing

After my parents married in 1937 and moved across the Ohio River to Illinois, Mother's father kept in touch with her through notes and post cards. Some of these notes said little more than he was thinking of her and hoped she was well. Other times he wrote about the rest of the family, their illnesses and their day-to-day life. As I read these notes today, it strikes me that no great event was ever mentioned, but these notes were important enough to my mother that she saved them.  This was the way my mother and her father anchored their connection when they could not be together.

When I married and moved away, I stayed in touch with my parents through long letters in which I told of life as a newlywed in a large city and with a new job. After the children were born, I wrote about their activities, from their first words to their first steps and to their first days of school. After my mother died, I found a stack of these letters that she had saved and I have a few letters she wrote me. These letters were our way of staying connected even though we lived far apart.

It is sad that the art of communication through letters has been lost. Because we all seem constantly in a hurry,  we dash off an email or send a text message to our loved ones. But it isn't the same. Maybe I  am showing my age by mourning the loss of what used to be?