Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Letter Writing

Is there anything better than a 'real' letter? I mean one that's gone across the miles via plane and truck ?  I can't think of a better form of communication, unless it's face to face.  I've always looked forward to an stamped envelope with my name on it...unless of course, it's junk mail.

When I was a youngster, back in the days of dinosaurs and cave men, I had my first pen pal. She was ten, I was eleven. We met when she came for a visit to her grandmother, who lived two doors away from me.  Since she was a self-proclaimed "Air Force Brat", she moved around a lot, and when she left for parts of the world I've never see, we wrote letters to keep in touch.  Then, another friend from the neighborhood moved to Colorado. We wrote letters for many years.

Because I like to write, my correspondence was newsy, detailed and long.  One of the above-mentioned gals has always teased me about the details in my letter, especially when I would describe every item of clothing was being worn by whoever I was telling her about.  She said I'd not only give a people report, but a fashion one as well.  (I think I learned that as a result of reading teen magazines where the threads of our favorite celebrities were described in detail. Maybe it was because I was interested in fashion design at the time. Who knows? Anyway, it filled the pages!)

I spent hours writing letters in those days, passing the time while babysitting for many local children who slept as I shared my life.  I loved to surprise my correspondent. Sometimes I'd use pretty papers, sometimes just loose leaf notebook paper, but occasionally I'd write on something unique....like paper towels or long strips of toilet tissue!  At that time in my life, I had a number of pen pals, having added a male friend who was away in Military school and another who had left his job on the British cruise ship where we'd met. He'd returned home to England to have foot surgery and we shared an on and off correspondence for many months. 

As a young wife and mother, I continued to share bits of my life. Another letter writer and I compared notes on mothering of two little girls who were the same age. Our lives were pretty routine, but somehow, communing with someone made it a bit more exciting.  I looked forward to her long letters, describing her life as a pastor's wife in a youth ministry on the West Coast. 

Lives change and we let some things go and add things that we never thought we would. Letter writing became a thing of past as, in 1996, I learned how to use a computer, something I'd always said I would never do. ( I didn't have a choice, as I was working for a computer repair business!)  Letter writing became letter typing as I became an emailer.  Others did too, and my mailbox rarely saw a hand-written envelope filled with news, except at Christmas time.

How I missed it...and I still do!  I've reconnected, via a computer social network, with my earliest pen pals and many others with whom I shared my younger years. It is truly a blessing, but I'd so love to see a letter from one of them in my mailbox like there used to be in the old days.  Some things, like friendships and old-fashioned letter-writing need to kept. Life has enough changes of it's own...and I'm resistant to much of it.   So, I wonder if I can get those early pen pals to actually write me a letter....just for old-time's sake. 'Think I'll give it a try, you never  know, I might be surprised!

1 comment:

  1. I was around ten when I had my first pen pal, too. They asked us in school who would like a pen pal and I got a boy from Italy. It was so exciting to get an air mail letter with strange stamps on it. We wrote for a few years, but then he started to get all mushy and was sending pages of Xs and Os and talking about us getting married and him moving to the United States! I was 14 years old! I kept telling him to quit with that kind of talk but he wouldn't, so I stopped writing to him.

    Out of the blue senior year he showed up in Minneapolis as a foreign exchange student!! Not at my school, thank goodness! I was totally creeped out!! My folks loved the exotic foreign exchange student and had him over a few times for dinner--awk!! I had a boyfriend at the time and told him so, but this Valerio kept trying to grab my leg and touch my butt! I think he thought all American women in the 60s were into free love! No way!

    All these years later I wish I hadn't been so upset with him that I burned all his letters. They'd probably be funny to read now. He didn't dampen my love of letter writing or having pen pals. I just have tried to stick with writing to females--LOL!! I have had a few male pen pals since then who never gave me any trouble that way, and a couple who did. The ones who did were foreign pen pals looking to hook up with an American woman in the hopes of being able to move here. I guess it is more common than I thought. ;)