Tag Archive | Letter Writing Week

Hey…… vs. the Love Letter

The first day into December break, my 14-year-old daughter sat at the breakfast table in a blue funk. I asked her what was troubling her.

“No one is around, I’ve tried to get in touch with everyone I know and no one is calling or texting me back to hang out or talk or do anything!” I empathized with her angst. Hanging out just with the members of the family, all friendless and all,  can be such a chore.

So, I asked her who she left messages with, who she called asking to make plans.

Her reply was, “Well, I didn’t exactly ask if anyone wanted to get together. I just texted ‘Hey’ to a bunch of people.  No one has replied.”

Obviously, in the texting generation, “hey” seems to carry more weight and meaning than its three letters imply. It might simply mean “hello!” Or it might mean

“what are you doing?”

“do you want to get together?” 

or, maybe, even

“I really like you.”

That is a lot to figure out for this upcoming generation of few words.

WordPress recently asked, as part of its daily blogging suggestions,

“Would you rather talk or text?”

For me, I’d rather talk. Or better yet, I would choose to write.

I do understand that texting can be convenient, such as when held up in a meeting and you need to get a succinct message out, like, “I’ll be late for dinner or daycare pickup.”

But, I would still prefer to hear the lilt, happiness or sadness in the voice of a friend or a loved one to better understand where they are coming from.  Nothing beats a phone conversation when you want to get to the bottom of things quickly.

Sometimes, though, it’s the anticipation of that special letter that makes communication all the more sweeter.  This week is National Letter Writing Week. That’s right. The kind of communication that requires a stamp. And ink from something called a pen.

When was the last time you received a love letter? When did you last wait days for that all-important message? Without that longing, songs like “Hey Mr. Postman” would never have been written.

If mere phone conversations and emails are dying away to curt, cryptic texts, then our culture may have seen our last generation of love letter writers.

I’m glad that technology did not arrive in time to deprive me of my letters. They are in a shoebox decorated with wrapping paper. Eighteen months worth of letters that document hopes and longings of my husband and I when we were just starting out.  He was in California, I was in New York. He was in grad school, I was in an entry-level job I hated. Each of these handwritten letters — some short, some long — took days to cross the continent and we waited with anticipation for them to arrive in our mailboxes.  And, by slowing down to write things out, we said things that we could never say to each other in a long distance phone conversation. Some of the dreams we put on paper, things we wouldn’t dare say when we were long distance dating, are a testament to our life today, our life with the three kids and the house. The house that holds a shoebox of old love letters.

In the digital age of bits and bytes, where will today’s young lovers store their earliest expressions of affection?

 

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