Musings and Amusings

N is for Notes

N Letter

Many from younger generations might not understand the degree to which I miss handwritten notes and letters – selecting the stationery, putting pen to paper, addressing the envelope, sending, receiving, tucking them away to cherish in later re-readings.

Make no mistake, I do appreciate the positive communications options our electronic advances provide:

  • Most deployed troops can stay in closer touch with their families; some even participating via videofeed in the birth of a newborn thousands of miles away.
  • Families living states apart can more readily participate in health care decisions in emergencies and care for elders who need their assistance.
  • Supplies to aid the afflicted can be more quickly collected and disseminated when natural disasters strike.
  • Happily, I enjoy daily contact with each of you – living in places like Oregon, UK, Spain, Malaysia – no matter how far away in locale, you are right here in our sharing.

Still … I miss the days when I’d open the mailbox and find a handwritten note because they hold, in essence, YOU. You touched the paper I am now holding; you wrote the words I am running my fingers over, you sealed the envelope, chose a stamp and sent part of yourself to me. Even the postmark holds curious interest to me.

Red-faced and apologetic, I admit I received lovely Christmas card notes from a couple of you, and have not reciprocated. I have no excuse. That, right there, throws a wrench in my whole lamentation about missing handwritten notes!

I have adapted to – even embraced – electronic communication, although I still have much to learn. It is the future, and it’s the way I will be able to stay connected to Sparks and Raqi as their world grows beyond our family circle.

Nevertheless, I am fully aware that a profoundly personal form of human connection – one that reaches back centuries – is most likely ending with my generation.


Note: I might not be able to respond to comments until this weekend. I’m on the road and my pesky laptop will let me read your posts, but not comment on yours or mine. Thank you for visiting; I will touch base soon.


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Comments on: "N is for Notes" (44)

  1. It is such a shame. I joined a pen pal club on FB last year but it all fizzled out ;( I think most of them were number collectors rather than wanting to make a genuine connection. However, I do have a couple of real life friends who scrawl me a handwritten letter from time to time… maybe all is not lost! Hope you are having fun on the road 😉 x

  2. Awe that last bit was so sad I hope it doesn’t end. I hate it when I get electronic cards to me that is such a cop out. I get my eldest to write thank you letters. My youngest because of his issues we make up a collage or something on the computer, print and send it so still something in the post. Id like a penpal that would be good 🙂

  3. Suzanne Ong said:

    I do try to make handwritten birthday cards for people dear to me whenever I can (or whenever I’m not too lazy hehe) and I appreciate the ones I receive back. I still keep notes, letters and cards I received years ago and whenever I reread them it always puts a smile on my face 🙂

    The electronic stuff is just temporary to me, I mean I wouldn’t scroll through my Facebook or e-mail just to search for a birthday message from my friend because there are other junk there and it’s just hard to look for it.

  4. I do think it’s sad that there’s a whole generation out there who will never experience the excitement and anticipation of sending and receiving actual letters to/from that “special someone”. . . there’s nothing like mailing a letter, wondering when it will be received, and then opening the mailbox and seeing that familiar handwriting on an envelope! Immediate communication has it’s advantages, but pure anticipatory romance isn’t one of them!

  5. Victoria said:

    I’ve been a lover of the handwritten notes for years. I still to this day, write out notes and cards and mail them. I loathe ecards as they’re so Impersonal.

    • So glad to hear it! I have a stash of artsy postcatds and notes, and enjoy sending them, too. But it seems to be fading out fir most.

  6. I’m going to disagree and predict that handwritten correspondence could see a resurgence because I think as people search for something permanent, they might return to old-fashioned pen and paper. I think the Internet, and even texting, has given us more of a reason to write, but as we realize that it all goes away (ahem, let’s talk about malicious viruses another day, shall we?) we might turn back to making something more tangible.
    Just go to Barnes and Noble, and look at all the beautiful journals and note cards. Someone’s buying them–not just me. 😉

    • Kirsten – i’m the other one buying all those irresistibly beautiful journals! I am happy to hear you disagree, and i truly hope you are right. I need to do my part by sending notes more often even if I don’t get many in return. It’s the unexpected ones that mean the most. Thanks a bunch for your thoughts!

  7. I agree 100%…I love writing, love pretty papers and fountain pens and beautiful handwriting. I have been making an effort recently to bring these things back into my own life in this age of electronic wonders. (which I really appreciate, don’t get me wrong) I fear that all those things may soon disappear. In fact, I learned recently that many schools don’t even teach cursive writing anymore, which will eventually make script a “foreign language” to kids. Sad!

    • Yup, my g’kids studied it but they don’t use it much. I write them notes often to try to spark the emotions that notes can bring.

  8. Your post made me miss the handwritten word miss, and at the same time feel guilty because I didn’t get as many Christmas cards out as I usually do. I did send a couple E-cards out. Shame on me! But we had some medical problems in the family at the time, and it was the e-card or no card.

  9. good morning! finally got your in my new reader…been missing your posts!

    • Hi Jane – nice to hear from you. Am gone for a few days; will check in with you next week. Hope all is well and spring on its way!

  10. It makes me think about the notes we passed in high school…..sending a friend a text just isn’t the same as passing in the hall and slipping a note…or from desk to desk until it gets to the right person…

  11. You made mention of this topic awhile back after you’d read a similar post on handwriting, so I was happy to finally see it arrive in my reader inbox. I loved getting letters, and, like so many others, had a few penpals for that reason. There was something special about getting a handwritten letter from across the globe, filled with news, both good and bad, but always fascinating. Lovely post, and thanks for the memory – but don’t start singing again! 🙂

    • Lol on the singing!!

      I had a penpal in Laos in 1965. Yeah, is there any winder why I never heard from her? What was my teacher thinking?!?

  12. One of my friends shifted to US after 5th grade. For nearly 6 years afterwards, we kept in touch through snail mail. Another friend shifted to india after 10th grade and she sent me a 110 page letter talking of her experiences in the new school. My grandparents used to always write to us. I have collected all these letters and they are fond memories for me. Though I and my friends still share long emails, I miss the personal touch of handwritten notes !

  13. My granny and I used to write letters to each other when I was younger. There was something so exciting and heartwarming about seeing a letter in the mailbox – handwritten, canceled stamp; that little piece of paper made a long and miraculous journey to get to my hands! I miss letters too, but have gotten so used to the instant-gratification communication style that is typical of recent years. Do you think that learning cursive in grade-school may become an irrelevant skill in the not-too-distant future? I hope not! Safe travels, Sammy! 😉

    • See? There’s the rub. We all loved mail, but have become accustomed to the “instant” part of today’s society. I’m determined to keep a foot in both.

  14. I love receiving cards/letters, but you are right, they are few and far between.

  15. For my older (than me) family who I am still trying to extract histories, I do everything by letter. I am still tickled when I get mail from them and I know that they enjoy my letters. Recently I tried to buy stationary but it is now hard to find. That’s a shame.

    • Your letters would be especially gratifying because of what you are trying to accomplish. Not a boring letter among them, I bet!

  16. A recent radio talkback in Western Australia on this topic resulted in an outpouring of thoughts. It seems as if the hand written note has experienced a resurgence in popularity like vinyl records. I hope so. The letters I receive are all bills. The happy anticipation of opening the letter box has disappeared from my life.So too has the gentle pleasure of sitting down, pen in hand and composing a return letter. A little bit of quality and happiness could be very simply returned to my life. I am off to the newsagent!!

    • What an interesting discussion! Vinyls have made a comeback. Wouldn’t it be great if we could do same with letters in the mailbox?

  17. I’ve printed my own cards from my artwork and love writing notes and sending them.

  18. Yes. I miss handmade notes. I have lovely letters from my grandmother and aunt and brother. They are so much more than an email! However, I will say this: When my brother was dying, my older bro and I and my niece left our ims open all the time. short thoughts like twitter posts were frequent, and I’ve saved them all. It’s a moving tribute to a family pulling together and being vulnerable.

    • That sounds like fortuitous thinking at the time. Especially if you have good memories of how you all worked together during that sad time. Thanks for commrnting.

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