The Handwritten Letter

Charlys - Sunset, Utah
Entered on November 7, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: family, legacy
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Handwritten Letters

I believe in the intimacy of a handwritten letter. They’re becoming a thing of the past. Email is wonderful, don’t get me wrong. I certainly can’t complain about anywhere, anytime, instant communication. But a handwritten letter from a loved one is something special, especially if it’s written on beautiful, scented stationary.

I remember the thrill I felt as a child when my mother would let me pick out a boxed set of stationary at the drug store. They were so elegantly packaged: pastel colored parchment sheets with a delicate floral design in the upper right hand corner, tied up with a silk ribbon, and matching envelopes. The fancier sets even came with a matching pen.

My mother always kept me supplied with stationary as encouragement to write letters to the family. I can remember carefully composing four or five sentences on pale pink paper with a delicate bouquet of rose buds in the corner. After closing with “Love, Charlys,” scrawled in large childish handwriting across the bottom, I would hold the scented paper to my face, deeply inhale the sweet fragrance of roses, and insert it into the matching envelope, licking the mint flavored seal. Another letter would be on its way to my Grandma Weber in American Falls, Idaho, or Gammy in Fallon, Nevada, or Dad, fighting overseas in Korea.

After I grew up and had my own family, I was composing four or five pages of family fiascos in long letters to my mother in Portland, Oregon. She isn’t into computer technology and email. She loves to get my letters and shares them with my sisters. They sit around her kitchen table, drinking their tea and laughing over my misfortunes. Mom says she’s keeping all my letters and plans on getting them published into a book someday. I think she’s kidding, but it brings up another important point about handwritten letters. You can keep them. And lots of books have been published from nothing more than letter compilations.

I suppose you could print off all your emails. But even if you did, would they smell like roses?