Ever delay a trip to the mail box because you know that you will be bombarded with junk mail or bills?
My grandmother has been a consummate letter writer throughout her life. A war bride who came to Canada after WW2 to marry a Canadian soldier, she wrote beautiful flowing letters to her family back in England, which they always responded to in familiar curves and lines of love, inspiration and newsy chit chat. When I was younger (pre mass access to e-mail) and in the army, my mom and sister wrote me beautiful letters. Always wanting to pack in as much news as possible, they included pictures or news clippings, and then found things to chat about that went over the pages so that sometimes they had to squish things in along the margins. I can remember my mum writing epistles to her family abroad, ten and twelve pages of news, stories and anecdotes about family life, the kids or the length of winter. You could tell that she enjoyed the process of writing itself; choosing pretty paper, steeping a cup of tea, and taking the cap off of her favourite pen, shushing our prattling mouths so that she could get on with the task of writing. She always finished them with big curled x’s that stood for a kiss.
My Aunt’s from afar would send birthday cards and holiday greetings. I remember distinctly receiving Christmas cards from Australia and begin dumbfounded; I had always thought that everyone’s Christmas cards looked like mine; scenes of snow and frost. But it’s summer in Australia at Christmas, and we’ve got the cards to prove it.
There is something really satisfying about getting a real piece of mail. The weight of a few pages tucked thoughtfully into an envelope. The rushed comments on the back of a post card sent from someone’s adventures far away. A picture. A few thoughts. A moment in time to connect to someone far away from us, by sending them a little written morsel. The kindness of a note that sincerely says thank you, or thinking of you or happy day, even from someone that we have only just met.
My sister has started creating a monthly newsletter that she sends to our 86 year old grandmother. It takes a bit of work, probably 3-4 hours per month, but it has photos and goings on that our grandmother loves so much that she has started to keep them in a scrapbook. I have kept every single hand made card that my aunt has sent over the years. They are a connection to her, a dedication to people that touch our hearts. If there is someone on your list that you’ve been thinking about writing to it, now’s the time. Get out that pen, rustle that paper. Make their day by offering them a part of yourself that they can see, touch and drink in with their eyes.
From me to you,