"Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls. For, thus friends absent speak." - John Donne
My parents immigrated by leaving for "vacation" to other Eastern block countries with their last stop being Vienna. That is where they asked for and were granted asylum. They spent the next 2 years there and in the States working furiously to get me to join them. It is during this time I believe my love affair with letter writing began. After all what could make a 5 year old happier than letters from parents who were so far. They connected us more than the rare call they could make. My mother kept many of my letters and they really capture a child who is missing her parents and a bit confused as to why they left her behind. They are the archives of a childhood that was happy even under difficult circumstances.
I still love hand written letters and notes. I gladly spend my limited "free" time perusing greeting cards and getting excited at finding ones that fit perfectly for the recipient. I know I am in the minority when I say I still like personalized stationery and non-picture Christmas cards. I have good stationery because it still is worth spending my money on things that provide such pleasure when looked upon. Putting pen to paper will eventually be a thing of the past and that in itself makes me bit misty.
It made me sad when I learned that script will no longer be taught in schools, that future generations will not understand the pleasure and pain of looking for a communication in the mail, that the art of letter writing is dying out. Some of my favorite books have been collections of letters written between friends and/or lovers. An oddly spelled text is not quite a Byron in the making...or maybe it is and I am just not seeing it. The irony that I am currently capturing this in an electronic medium, however, is not lost on me. I will end this with a plug for 2 places that have beautiful, distinct, high quality, creative stationery products and which I have shopped at. Papyrus, a chain, with what I have found to be the best greeting cards and Hamptonpaperdesigns.com, independently owned, for stationery. These 2 places understand that a piece of paper with a beautiful design is actually a vehicle that will carry an emotion.
"What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters. You can't reread a phone call" - Liz Carpenter