January 20, 2005
The lost art
Still at home today from work. Tried to go in. I truly did. But my body has other ideas. So far it's winning...

Reading some blogs this morning, I found a really insightful post from Wacky Southern Housewife. She writes about the lost art of letter writing. It struck a chord with me. As a child, one of my most fondest memories was of my Aunt Phyl. She would write letters to me (she only lived 1/2 an hour away) and taught me the joys of both receiving and sending little missives. Often, she wrote me on a typewriter which always made me feel important. I hadn't even seen a typewriter, except on TV and here I was getting personal letters from one. It was always a reciprocal deal. She taught me how important it was to respond back. Every day, I would run home and check to see if there was mail to me. If I found a letter, with her scrawling handwriting on the front, I was over the moon!

Later, as I got interested in our family history, I found letters my parents had kept over the years. I have an incredible letter sent to my grandmother in 1921 from England, telling her that her young 4 year old brother had passed away. Another one, from Ireland in the 20s tells of them going 'dotty' from all the explosions around them. Still others, newer ones are stories of my Dad's travels across Canada at age 18 in the 1950s. He and his brother hitchhiked and worked their way, meeting people and learning about the vastness of our country.

As I grew up, I got very much into letter writing. In my teens, I was part of Penfriends International and a bunch of others. I even began my own little club, called 'The Mighty Pen" where I sold addresses to others for a small fee. It grew beyond my wildest dreams and I soon had over 1000 names. No computer databases, mind you. I dutifully typed them out on a typewriter that I had been given for my 16th birthday. I kept many of the letters over the years...something told me that they would be very precious one day. They tell the stories of people from Kenya, Fiji, the former USSR and many many other countries. Writing gave me an insight to these peoples lives, long before the internet was a reality.

Then the internet and email arrived. It opened up the world more than I ever thought possible. In many more ways than ever dreamed. But it came at a price. Letter writing slowed down. It took other forms. It evolved, I guess you could say.

Just before Christmas, I was sending a package to a friend overseas who was not on email. I wanted to write a letter. I looked high and low for that stationery I had packed away. I used to have so much of it. My family would always give me a present with some tucked in. But it now all seemed gone, lost... I ended up writing my letter on designed computer paper. I wanted to handwrite it - it was like I needed to still do something so personal that way. But my letter seemed messy. I guess I've lost my handwriting skills over time. I can type 90wpm but writing is now an effort, it seems.

I am reading a book called 'The Book Of Letters: 150 years of Private Canadian Correspondence". It's really kept my interest, in the same way reading my own family's correspondence does.

What is sad is that the kids growing up today will barely know the art of letter writing. I do plan to start writing Hayley, when she gets old enough, in the same way my Aunt Phyl did for me. I can only hope that it's received on her with such enjoyment as it left me as a young girl.

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer, who looks forward to a better Canada. I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.

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Turning thirty and a half
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