Paper Trail

Honestly, Kids, sometimes I long for the days when letters were on paper….

With online banking to pay your bills, and emails/texting to touch base with family and friends, will hand-written letters become totally extinct?

I think it’s a pretty good possibility.

Although I’m glad to see most of my bills being paid without a stamp, I really hate to think that the fun mail will someday stop.

People don’t really write letters very often, now. In some ways, it’s understandable – email is so much quicker and more convenient. But there’s something beautiful about a little envelope with your name handwritten on it. 😀

When I was quite young, my grandmother helped me compose a letter to a cousin who lived far away. I had never written a real letter before. Nana suggested that I first scribble something in pencil on a piece of scrap paper, but I wasn’t sure how to begin. She encouraged me by saying:

“Just write as if you are talking to the person… as if he is sitting right there beside you!”

That worked like a charm. Next, she gave me a sheet of good paper and (drum roll, please!) my grandfather’s special pen – the “fancy” one he kept in a little stand on the bureau. Talk about feeling like a grownup. 🙂

Probably the most faithful and prolific letter-writer I’ve ever known was Sir Beads’ Mom. Her letters were little treasures. She always used pretty stationery and usually, it was scented! I swear the lovely fragrance of those letters would spread to all of the other mail that arrived on the same day. It made opening the bills a pleasure (well, almost!).

Her letters were written in a beautiful script and she often tucked in a photo, or a newspaper clipping, or a recipe she’d copied especially for me, or snippets of yarn from an “in-progress” sweater, or scraps of fabric from a dress she was sewing for one of my girls – just so I could see the colors and textures she had chosen. It was fun to feel part of the project in that way.

I miss those letters. They brightened up even the sunniest of days! I did save a lot of them. They’re part of our family history, after all.

I wonder if emails between family members will survive through the ages. Will they be stored on tiny discs? Will they be accidentally erased during computer crashes? They definitely won’t have the little surprises tucked inside . . .

This week’s question is:

Do you have old hand-written letters that you have saved? Do you ever hand-write a letter, now? Do you save emails? Are you ok with a totally paper-less society?

Ok, that’s more than one question! 😉

But you know what I mean…. Lol




Paper Trail — 15 Comments

  1. Occasionally, I send a hand written letter. Mostly cards. But I have to admit that I have come of age and mostly use e-mail now, and sometimes e-cards. I hate to write checks. If I can’t do it electronically, its usually late. I rely on the computer totally at work and have brought that into my personal life too.

    I have recently been de-cluttering this house in every area. I DO keep certain cards I have received, most of them from Terry or close friends. I have a lot of them. 60 years worth and they are fun to look at. I wonder if my kids will think so when I’m gone.
    xx, Carol

  2. I still write letters. Not as often as years ago but I still do it about once or twice a month. And I love sending thank you cards, birthday cards, new job, new baby, new house cards. I used to buy so many greeting cards that I had to put them in my monthly budget. Thank goodness for Dollar Stores. What had been creeping upwards of $5-6 can now be found for ONE.

    I have all of the cards hubby has given me over the years for mother’s day, sweetest day. Some birthday cards from him are stored away too. I have letters from relatives long departed this world. I love going through them. Especially those from my grandmother. Her handwriting was so tiny and neat. I can see her sitting at her dining room table writing to me. Wonderful memories.

    I use e-mail, a lot. I send e-cards and I receive them. I don’t save them though.

    Nope, not ok with a totally paper-less society. I feel safer with a hard copy of something important. So I still have paper files. Yes, I know. I am old. Hard to let go of something familiar that has served me well. 😀

  3. I always make sure to send hand written thank you notes for every gift I receive, even if I thank the gift giver in person or in text or email. I think it shows the gift is truly appreciated. I make my daughter do the same & will make my son do it when he is old enough. I do not write hand written letters anymore & very rarely receive them. I do save special cards that have been sent to me and my children; I think they are wonderful keepsakes to pass along & they don’t take up much space.
    I do save emails too. I have one account for work and one for personal, it is fun to go back and re-read the personal ones.
    Crystal, I have been at the barn constantly this spring, but working and not riding!! 🙁
    I also have been working at horse shows, too; I just finished up 2 weeks of announcing at shows, which was a new experience for me. It was different, but I liked it! I am show secretary for a show coming up this weekend, which is a lot of paperwork. But as long as I am around the horses, I am happy. There will always be time to ride later. 🙂

  4. I have letters from my husband written over 40 years ago. I also have a couple letters written by each of my parents. My mother in law writes many letters. I have never been very good at writing. I think paperless communication is fast approaching. I don’t know how I feel about it. Am I old fashioned to say even though I don’t write often, I love to get letters.

  5. I keep my handwritten thank you notes and cards. I also still send thank you notes that are handwritten. I don’t like the electronic ones. They don’t feel as sincere. I don’t keep emails and I don’t know anyone who prints them out and saves them either. I don’t want a paperless society, I want to read my books the old fashioned way.

  6. Crystal, your blogging lady friends sure know how to write nice comments concerning your questions.

    Yes, my Mother was a great letter writer. I’m glad to hear that Sir Beads and Crystal saved many of them. We cherish the ones we have. Living a lot closer to the parents than Sir Beads, we didn’t get the goodies enclosed, we just got checks! Kidding.

    My letter writing was done in the early sixties to the wife before we were married. They’re packed away in two shoe boxes and occasionally one or two are read. It would probably be a good idea to read them before the kids get a hold of them!!!

    I’ll have to admit, if it weren’t for electronic communication, some folks might not have any correspondence from me. So its been good for me, even with friends here in town.

    And now I’m taking part in a blog when I’m moved to do so. Who would have thought.

    But there is something special about a hand written letter, isn’t there.

  7. I’m back!
    I will answer the comments in the order they came in!

    You can tell by that remark that I’m a mother. 😉 (You know I love all you kids equally!)

    Carol, Why am I not surprised that you have 60-year-old cards? We are so alike – but you beat me on this one. I have many of my cards, from my wedding cards on up. That’s 40+ years. I would say that I only have a handful of anything from my teens and nothing before that! Wish I did. Would love to see those old birthday cards again.

    Are you feeling better? Hope you are taking good care of yourself. Please tell hubby that Crystal “requests” that he spoil you for a while.

    I smiled reading about your grandmother writing letters to you. So very sweet!

    I make hard copies of important things too. Had a computer crash – taught me a good lesson. Unless you are going to back up the computer daily (I do not.), you can lose an important file if you don’t have a paper copy.

    ***Back later! Sir Beads wants tea and cake!****

    Hi again!

    How wonderful that you hand-write your thank you notes! 🙂
    If your kids continue in your tradition, it will be a gift for the future – maybe it will inspire one of their friends to do the same.

    When my oldest daughter was little (She’s 30-something now!), I helped her (and her little sister) write “thank you” notes one Christmas. Ever after that day, the older one did them on her own. I never insisted – she just took the idea to heart. People would always comment after receiving one from her that it was the only one they had received all year. Kind of sad when you think about it.

    Announcing at the horse shows sounds very exciting! Did the kids get to hear Mommy at the microphone?

    Hey there, Clenna
    I don’t think you are old fashioned to love to get letters!! I think you are sentimental and appreciative of a personal communication. I feel exactly the same way! 😀

    You’re so very lucky to have letters that your parents wrote. And early letters from your husband are treasures, indeed!

    You say you are not good at writing, but you are good at writing emails and I should know – you’ve sent me some lovely ones over the years!

    Aw, Kelly!
    I agree with you on books! I never want to lose the ability to curl up with a real book in my hands! I actually have a Kindle, but I consider it an accessory – it will never replace actual books!

    Now you know someone who does print an email now and then! 🙂 I print them if they are special notes from family and friends.

    I would have guessed that you hand write your “thank you” notes but with all of the charitable work you do – I hope you receive a whole lot of them, too!

    Sir Beads’ Brother,
    You are too funny!!! Checks, eh? 😉

    We love getting your emails and so do our kids! I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that electronic communication has increased correspondence. I know you were referring specifically to your communications but I think, in general, it has encouraged many people to better keep in touch by email and also to send photos to family and friends – now that it’s quicker to do so.

    Hmmm… Maybe I’m suddenly having a little change of heart here! I mean, nothing can totally replace the personal touch of a handwritten letter, but I guess we should be thankful for the increase in communication that technology has brought to us.

    And as for your “taking part in a blog when I’m moved to do so”?

    I’m certainly delighted that you are “so moved”! 🙂

  8. I am back!! Didn’t want to rush through all that you wrote about us kids. 😀

    I ended up going to KROGER for my coffee and cookies. LOL!! No seriously. I did. Plus bought five bags of other stuff I hadn’t planned to buy. Going to fix spaghetti for dinner. Only here for a moment.

    I am feeling much better, thanks for asking. Am able to breathe. The fresh air helped. Now I have to run around the house doing the stuff I haven’t felt like doing for the last week. Dust, vacuum, cook.

    I enjoyed reading all the comments here. Well, gotta go introduce myself to the kitchen.

  9. Spaghetti, Donna?
    I’ll be right over! It’s my favorite. 😀

    So glad you are feeling much better. Bon appétit!

  10. 😀

    I’m back!! LOL!!

    You liked my CCC, did ya. Too funny. When I saw how much you had written, I knew I wouldn’t be able to read it all at that moment.

    Dinner was wonderful even though I hate to cook. I made small meatballs with chopped up onions, green bell peppers and celery mixed together. Then with the leftover ground round, I cooked it and added it to the sauce. Then dumped it all in a huge pot with the spaghetti. Hubby won’t JUST eat spaghetti and meatballs. No, he always wants fish. So I fried four catfish nugget fillets and cooked some frozen broccoli spears. And then guess what? After all that… he wanted garlic toast. He was slicing some to put into the microwave as I was LEAVING the kitchen. LOL!! Well, after all I did, he could do that, right?

    Now getting ready to settle in with Person of Interest and Scandal. I love both of those shows. See ya later…..

  11. Donna,
    I love ya! 🙂
    Hubby must also!!! He’d better – that dinner was a feast!

    So Scandal is good? I keep hearing the ads for it, but lately there seems to be a game on at the same time (baseball, hockey, basketball) and hubby gets the clicker then. He would compromise but I don’t mind. I have the on demand feature on the tv – so I should watch it there!

    Sweet Dreams! 🙂

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