The dying art of letter writing
|Painting by George Goodwin Kilburne (source: Wikimedia Commons)|
When I was growing up one of the activities we were allow to do on Sundays (the Lords Day) was letter writing. It wasn't a day for playing with toys, mucking about outside, being silly or noisy. It was the one day of the week where, as children, we needed to "really" behave ourselves. In the morning we attended a family meeting, followed by lunch (either at home or at my uncles house) and a quiet afternoon. Letter writing was considered an appropriate activity.
If we stayed at my uncles house for lunch, my cousins and I would sit around the kitchen table and write letters to pen friends then we would walk to the local letter box and post all the letters written that day by everyone (our little bit of exercise). Quite often for birthdays we would receive pretty writing paper and on these Sundays we would trade with each other and I would end up with some very nice cards/paper from my cousins. Then I would save them for a very special person!
I wrote to a handful of pen-friends, cousins and aunts who lived interstate or overseas. From memory, I started writing letters at a very early age, encouraged by my mother. It was a great way to develop ones writing skills and improve grammar and spelling (mine is is lacking!). Sadly, it is a skill that many a modern child no longer know how to do or has any interesting in learning.
For centuries women have communicated via the written word . . . writing letters to each other, often on a daily bases. This treasured method of commutation has been replaced by instant texting, Facebook, blogging, Skyping, emailing etc.. but none are permanent and doesn't hold the special meaning that letters once had. Many letters from the past have been saved and as a result we have a better understand our ancestors. We can share their everyday lives, the activities they got up to, their loneliness and isolation, their dreams, their tragedies and their joys, births, deaths, marriages, widowhood . . . what will be left of our lives to share with future generations. Not a lot at this rate.
To me, that is all rather sad.
I don't write letters anymore because I don't have the time. I was only thinking the other day about letter writing and a letter arrived in the post. A letter from a lady who wanted to know if I wanted to write to her. Of course I will, it will be nice to re-connect to this very old tradition.
I will admit I can no longer write hand written letters, I am too reliant on the computer to fix my spelling! But, you can still personalise a typed letter.
Do you encourage your children to write letters to others?
Do you write letters anymore?