The lost art of letter-writing

So at work today (in between working extremely hard) we were discussing letters. I may not be a ‘Hoarders from Hell’-level hoarder but I do have a bit of a tendency towards nostalgia and like to keep things that I consider to be of sentimental value. My husband may classify some of these items as ‘recycling’. Over the years, I have kept most of the letters that friends and family have sent to me, and tonight (whilst the husband works) I have dug them all out. 

The first thing that struck me about my near record-breaking collection of letters was the power of them. Within a few seconds of reading the scribblings of my childhood best friend, I was right there again. A teenage girl flooded with hormones, lamenting my lack of love life and compiling top tens of the ‘fittest’ young males in the village to pass the time. I can honestly say that if I could go back in time, it would not be to 1993! Thinking of my own 14 year old, life just seems so much more straightforward for boys!

I came across the first letter that my mum sent me after I’d left home for uni, describing herself and my dad as ‘Darby and Joan’ and my Aunt Maud’s letter advising that she’d been teaching Georgie the budgie how to say my name ready for when I got home for the holidays. From pages filled with dry sense of humour I’ve inherited (or so I like to think) oozes love.

There is something quite special about thoughts and feelings that have been permanently committed to paper; I don’t have my mum and dad anymore, or my Nan and her sister, who were always there during my childhood but, through their letters, I can hear their voices in a second and they can still make me laugh and cry. From my Nan sending me recipes as a poor student to the pieces of black bin bag that she believed would be impenetrable to Royal Mail scanners when she sent me a fiver to buy a round of drinks (even in 1996, this was pushing it – also fairly sure the bin bag theory was not scientifically proven).

I guess what this tells me is leave it all out there on the pitch. Tell your special ones how you feel, in the best way you know how. I’m going to write more letters in 2018…now where’s that address book?


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