I've been doing lots of thinking about letter writing lately. Mainly because I have been surprised at how many of my letter writing sets have been selling. I'm sure that it's partly due to the pandemic and people are wanting to create and maintain connections with people now more than ever, but I think there is more to it than that.
I remember going on a tennis camp when I was in primary school and making friends from other Western Australian wheatbelt towns. We would share our address and write to keep in touch after the camp was over. For my 5 years of boarding school, my mum was an avid letter writer. Just the daily, somewhat mundane happenings on the farm is what she would write about mostly, but to collect a letter from the mail table on the way up to the dormitory bedroom gave that touch of home, from 350km's away. We didn't have e-mail, let alone snapchat, instagram and facebook to keep in touch, and that tangible piece of paper was so comforting. (Yes, I still like cd's for the tangible disc in my hands and I love to read the credits because it's written by the artist themselves, making it so personal.)
My main pen-pal through childhood was Jodie. She lived in Queensland, Australia. We had met while both on holiday and staying at the same caravan park. Our families became friends and we travelled together as we seemed to be doing the same trip around Australia. I think I was 5 or 6 when we met, and we are still friends. Our families are still friends (have been for almost 40 years!!!) and 18 months or so ago, we caught up with her parents when they came to WA. Her Mum had given my Mum a box of letters. They were the letters that Mum had sent to her over the years which she had kept. She thought it would serve as a journal of memories for my Mum. What a gift! The power of these friendships is immeasurable. I believe that the bond created through letter-writing is so strong because it is a gift of time. It takes time to sit down and write a letter. To take it to the post office and send it. To receive a letter in the mail on paper that has been touched by the other person is valuable. Just think of what people will pay to have a celebrity signed poster, book or other keepsake. It's knowing it has been touched by that other person.
I still have Jodie's letters in a box. One day, I'll give them back to her. I think her daughters would love to have a read to see what she was like when she was a little girl.
I feel like I could go on about this for longer, as this message has been in my heart for a while now. I just wanted to get it out to you. I wish I could send you this message in the mail!