The Lost Art of Letter Writing


Whatever happened to letter writing?  It seems in the last 10 years– with the mainstream of email and cell phones– letter writing has gone by the way side.

I’m as guilty as anybody.

I used to write long, chatty emails to my friends– especially my best friend in California.  Honestly, I am so busy… people are lucky if they get a text from me. Heck, I’m doing good if I can find time to play Words before the person sends me a reminder.  I just don’t have the time. 

Do you remember in the back of Teen magazine– there was a spot where you could send your name and address in and be linked up with a pen pal?  I remember mine… she lived in Frankfurt, Germany and her name was Frauke Pfeiffer.  It was interesting to hear about her life and the things she did in Germany and to find out she really wasn’t that much different than my friends and I.  We corresponded for a couple of years, but then that fell by the way side too. 

For kicks, I just flipped over and searched for “pen pals” on Google.  I was kinda nervous about opening them– so I didn’t.  What has technology brought us to?  Most of the descriptions on Google mentioned “online” pen pals.  I sure wouldn’t be giving my home address to some stranger in this day and age.  Heck, they could zoom in on Google Earth and see my house and yard.

But, seriously… email pen pals?

Don’t get my wrong… most of my friends live far away and we converse occasionally in email.  A couple of them I have never met– just “hung out” with them in a now defunct bulletin board.  Doesn’t anyone send letters anymore?  Do people even buy stamps?  Heck, I pay all my bills online.

Part of the fun of writing letters to Frauke was that I would have to take my letter, carefully folded, up to the post office to purchase a special “air mail” envelope and stamp.  I think the stamps were like $2.  I felt so worldly with my white envelope with red and blue markings.  I had a pen pal.  In Germany. 

I remember having to learn the proper form of various letters– personal letters, business letters.  Do they even teach kids how to do that anymore?  I mean, seriously, you can just download the template from Microsoft Online and it HIGHLIGHTS where to put your personal information.  It’s a no brainer. 

I have mentioned in an earlier post I would like to simplify our lives.  To step back from the technology and live a good life.  So, since this is my world… Sunday’s are going to be Simple Life posts.  Each Sunday, I am going to post something concerning our journey to that– whether it being shutting the phones off for the day (gulp) or working on our home book.  Today, I challenge you to write a letter or a note to someone.  Do it.  Write to your grandma, a friend, someone you admire, an old teacher… you get the picture.  Just grab a piece of paper or a note card and go at it.

With that… let me tell you this.  You know how every once in awhile you hear on the radio or TV to tell a teacher how much they meant to you?  There was one teacher that I had in high school that I never had the chance to write a note to.  I will regret this the rest of my life.  She recently passed away, and now I will never have the chance.

So… go grab a note book or a piece of paper, a pen or pencil and get writing…

I promise, no one will judge you if you don’t remember the proper form for a letter…