ode to the letter…

February 13, 2012

i have been thinking about paper.  . . . and pens.

and the miraculous thing that those two things combined can make  . . .  a letter.

yes, a letter, a real letter! you know the kind we used to send and receive. pre-email. pre-text. pre-technology.

ahhh, yes, a letter. a letter. . . (insert lamenting voice here)

as I sit here fully embracing technology, yet in a bittersweet way.  blogging away in a medium that will be completely untraceable generations down the road I think about the longevity of paper and pen.

i think about the ceremony of letter writing. the sanctity of it all.

the thrill of a letter in the mailbox.

“ ah, a letter. . . . a letter.” (insert sigh with a deep breath.)

the hypnotic loops and curls of someone’s penmanship. the tear-stained, ink-blotted, dirty-fingerprinted, perfume-laced pages of a letter.

those are real.

those things, those tangible, heartfelt imprints of time, and place, and feeling, and friendship, and love, and passion . . . . those are real.

ask someone if they’ve ever cherished an email or a text.

held it to their heart.

carried it around in their wallet.

slept with it under their pillow.

smelled the fibers under the words.

we have a letter framed on the wall that our grandfather sent to our grandmother in the early 1900s, they were just teenagers.

and i can see the haphazard curve and slant of his pencil scrawled letters and i can slightly see a few similarities in my own handwriting. i can feel the excitement in the words as they get a little less precise as the letter grows longer. i can connect with him. i can connect with someone i never met, by reading and seeing and touching this piece of paper.

his love letter to the love of his life. folded, tattered, and torn from years of moving from place to place in our grandmother’s dresser drawer.

i wonder if any of our great grandchildren will someday cherish a text we sent to the love of our life? or an email?

more than likely they won’t frame our cell phones on the wall and display the texts.

that medium will be gone with the sands of time. gone with the next technological revolution.

deleted out of someone’s inbox. And gone forever.

damn thee technology! (if shakespeare were only here. . . )

but a letter, a handwritten note . . .  well, I dare say that will never be phased out.

so here . . on the eve of valentine’s day . . . i think what a wonderful present to send or receive. . . a letter or just a lil’ note to a dear friend or family member, to someone who has touched our lives, to a favorite teacher, or to the love of your life . . . . that way they know. without doubt. for all of time what we hold in our hearts for them.

and maybe just maybe . . . someday, a 100 years from now,  . . . it will be framed on someone’s wall . . . our thoughts, our words . . a lasting part of this world . . . a part of us that stays around long after we are gone. (unlike that blasted cell phone that’s sitting inches from all of us at this very moment. . . damn thee technology!)

so . . . i think i’ll quit typin’ now. . . and maybe just maybe pick up a piece of paper. and a pen. and see what happens. . .

long live the letter!

til then. . . all my love. . . amie

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  • Reply Kayla February 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    AMEN! I love sending and receiving letters and cards. When I was young I’d keep in touch with kids I met on vacation by sending letters… and you’re right, I still have them! Must admit, I still have notes passed in classes too… Thanks for the reminder!

  • Reply Crysta February 13, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    I still write handwritten thank you notes and some people think it’s odd. I still have all the handwritten letters me and my good friends would write back and forth to each other in school. We used to keep in touch with each other from year to year in between summer camp with handwritten letters. Oh how those memories put a smile on my face! 🙂 Wonderful blog!

  • Reply Christine S. February 14, 2012 at 5:47 am

    This resonates so clearly with me, Amie! I believe the same thing. Our world has come down to “sound bites” of our affection and the time we are willing to spend on sharing it. I think letter-writing is such an underrated activity, an activity that activates our minds in a way where we are giving of ourselves to another our time, our thoughts, our energy and, in turn, creating a feeling of pleasure for another.

  • Reply Rene' Foust February 14, 2012 at 7:47 am

    I love paper and pens and receiving letters and cards almost as much as I love sending them.

  • Reply Patsy Quinn February 14, 2012 at 11:30 am

    My first email of the day, and what a Treat! I appreciate your depth in your feelings, Amie, showing us this letter. This letter hit home in my heart. I have kept my handwritten notes and letters from old loves and friends….I can’t throw them away. They meant so much to me then, and I still take them out from time to time to sit quietly, and get in that peaceful place that they bring. Letters on paper like that calm me down and soothe my heart. Sometimes they make me laugh so hard. Sometimes I cry. I can’t throw them away. When you see someone’s heart felt love sprawled out on paper, it moves you to tears. The innocence in men was evident in those earlier letters. Everything is so different now. I have saved letters and cards from the late 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s from lovers. Some are beautiful letters of support and encouragement from women, too. People really need to get back to romance and edification toward others, through handwritten notes, cards, and letters. Remember when it was a big deal to get your own monogrammed stationery? Thank you, Amie.

  • Reply Sandi ~ A Cottage Muse February 14, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Happy Valentine’s Day Amie!
    My Valentine and I have been together since we were 15…I still have his first love letters and cherish them!

  • Reply The Confetti Chronicles February 22, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    How truly beautiful that your family has preserved the written love from your grandfather to your grandmother! What a treasure!

    You are so very right, emails and texts just don’t have the same heartfelt emotion as a handwritten letter does.

  • Reply Julie February 22, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Love your post. I actually wrote my aunt a letter last year. I had a longing for the handwritten word and the anticipation of waiting for a letter in the mailbox. I fully intended to keep writing letters but low and behold I only wrote one. I hope to write another one someday. We have many of our parents old love letters and really do cherish them. One day I will post some on my blog. Love your blog!

  • Reply Shabby Vintage Junk February 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Amie this letter from your Grandfather to your Grandmother is by far & away the SWEETEST letter I’ve EVER read…..How LUCKY for you to still have this letter after all this time….**sigh**….!!

    No….An email or txt would NEVER give me a lump in the throat as this BEAUTIFUL letter has….**bigger sigh**….!

    Thanks so much for sharing….!!!!!

    Hope you guys are having a BRILLIANT week….!

    Cheers from Australia,
    Tamarah :o)

  • Reply Tammy February 27, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    We started this a couple of years ago – you can email in your address and we’ll compile a list of people that would like to send and receive written letters…


  • Reply Annie R March 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Love the letter, so romantic! Great choice for the Rebel Child model, That’s the Ranell we know and love! In my heart she will always be the Rebel Child, that’s just her spirit. She looks absolutely beautiful and I love the clothes and jewelry.

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