Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Handwritten letters

My mother and grandmother wrote to each other weekly, from the time my mother went to boarding school aged ten, until my grandmother died, aged 70-something. Those letters chronicled their lives and mine and… they threw them all out. What a pity. I would’ve loved to read them, a personal history from the 1950’s onwards, from two different perspectives. Now there would be a fabulous book. But they’re gone, those pages and pages of life, lovingly recorded.

I, too, have done my share of letter-writing and, unfortunately, letter-throwing out. I found a box of old letters the other day, though, and was reminded of the beauty of letters, specifically written, carefully folded, addressed and stuck with a licked stamp.

They were all handwritten, some posted with stamps on them and handwritten addresses (various, according to which stage of my life they were from), some notes that were just letters, hand-delivered, envelopeless – under doors, across desks, under windscreen wipers. They all filled me with nostalgic emotion, from ecstacy to melancholy and back. I miss handwritten letters.

And how I wish that I’d kept them all. I realise that kind of hoarding may result in me living in a house with tiny passageways made between boxes and boxes of ‘stuff’, but I’m not wishing to be logical here. What a beautiful record they are, of lives lived, loves loved, hearts broken and hearts mended.

4 comments:

fushandchips said...

I miss letters too (http://rhodes9094.blogspot.com/2008/11/before-email.html). I wrote about one a week to S (http://indie.co.za/her.html) throughout Varsity. Sadly she burnt them all, after a tiff.

Throw away your bank statements, keep your old love letters.

Shiny said...

Ah Fush, that's perfect: Throw away your bank statements, keep your old love letters. Your wisdom must come from the fact that you're approaching the big four-oh (sorry, I had to) xx

Kristin said...

I cannot seem to throw out letters or cards at all. Not the drawings from children, either. Now, I'm engaged in a long distance... um... We write. And it's fabulous. It's just not handwritten.

Shiny said...

Oh Kristen, the earthquake boy? How wonderful. I am constantly astounded by the parallels in our lives x