78/100 Days of I Believe

I believe in writing letters. Real letters, the kind with an envelope and a stamp, the ones that go in the funny blue box on the corner.

Call me old fashioned for continuing to send letters through the postal service - I often say I was born in the wrong time. I fear that letter writing is a dying art, and I’m sad to see it go.

I have vivid and glorious memories of running down to the mailbox after school to see if I had any letters, and the sheer joy of finding one addressed to me. For my 18th birthday my father gave me an antique writing box, complete with glass inkwell, where I kept my tools for correspondence all through college. And now, as we pack up my mother’s house in preparation for her move, we are finding letters in all of the nooks and crannies and dresser drawers - letters from my grandmother to my mother when she was young, letters from my mother’s grandmother to my mother in college, letters to me and from me, from my brother to the tooth fairy, from my mother’s aunt to me, from my father. And I can’t help thinking, each time we unearth another one, that these are gifts through time and space that email just won’t provide for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren (I should be so lucky) one day.

So I go to the post office and I buy more stamps. I sneak into the third drawer of the cabinet in my mother’s study and steal a few note cards with letterpressed bicycles or Ansel Adams photographs on the front, and I write letters to my kids at camp. Yes, I can send them email, and sometimes I do, but more often than not I send letters because there is nothing quite like seeing your name on an envelope in someone else’s handwriting, tearing open the flap, finding some news or a joke or a little bit of love inside.

And then I cross my fingers and make a wish that maybe they’ll write me back!