Last week I wrote a bit about books and my love for them. It’s true, there’s nothing that quite compares with the feel of a beautifully bound leather novel resting contently in one’s hands. If you’re lucky, the volume is old and the smell of the paper speaks of a bygone era and well earned provenance.
To me, a handwritten letter speaks to the soul in the same way. In an age of computer-generated everything, the feeling of reading a simple note written on actual paper recalls a bygone era.
There was once a time when, in order to communicate with someone far away, one picked up pen and paper and penned a note.
Aside: I’m actually a bit giddy to get to use the verb ‘penned’ in a post.
This letter was then sealed (with wax, if one was lucky) and placed in the post. A carrier would come by, pick it up, and the letter would start off on a grand adventure. Some days hence, if all went well, it would land in the post box of a soon-to-be-surprised recipient, where its contents would soon be revealed.
Much of our understanding of many important historical figures is gleaned from the letters and personal correspondence they left behind. It was an art form, and notes were sent for all sorts of reasons.
A gentleman does not consider thank-you notes, congratulatory notes, or sympathy notes a burden. Instead he considers each note a tiny, inexpensive tribute to a person whom he respects, to whom he is grateful, or whose company he enjoys.
~ A Gentleman Pens a Note
Today, it’s sadly becoming a lost art. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my email, Facebook and Twitter. It allows me to communicate with friends and acquaintances all over the world. It’s allowed me to digitally meet people I never would have otherwise, and I’m thankful for that. For goodness sake, I write a blog and have had at least one active email account at all times for over twenty years.
Still, it feels like something has been lost.
When I was a child, I had a pen pal in some far-distant land; which one I no longer recall. The letters received were magical. The paper and stamps were foreign, and had traversed the globe on their own magical journey to arrive slightly wrinkled and travel-worn in my small hands.
Another time, also as a child of around ten years of age, I purchased a box of sealing wax at a school auction. The beautiful colors had entranced me. Yet, I doubt if I was to show it to my contemporaries today many would be able to identify what it is at first sight (and, yes, I do still have the box).
So, time moves on and some of these things I love become anachronisms. It’s sad, really, but possibly only to me. However, if you wish to indulge yourself in my pity, take a look at a Google Image search for ‘Handwritten’. There are many examples of beautiful words in beautiful (and not so beautiful) penmanship.
Then go and hand-write a note to someone you love far away and mail it to them. If nothing else, it will surprise them and bring a smile to their face.