Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Wishes - Letters from Home

           Handwritten letters were once the social media outlet of the times. How lucky and advanced we are now with, I-Phones, E-mail, Facebook, Twitter… However, I recommend you consider occasionally stepping back into your mother or grandmother’s time: Do it the old-fashioned way. There is no need to match Thomas Jefferson’s numerosity; He wrote over 20,000 letters. Though matching his eloquence is an admirable goal.

            Set an even higher standard for yourself, that of your grandmother, mother, or other loved one who at one time confided in you, in her own unique handwriting with curly letters looking like musical notes.  My mom’s handwritten letters are truly works of art! Maybe the letters from your loved one are barely legible, a result of debilitating arthritis. No matter, no artist can replicate, no font can paint a picture to match hers. She carefully chose the Birthday, Thank You, Get Well, Congratulations, Happy Chanukah, or Merry Christmas card especially for you. Maybe the writing paper carried her hallmark perfume scent. The themed stamped envelope sealed with a kiss, created anticipation of enwrapped sentiment.

            My grandmother always began her letters to me with, Bernard (my formal name) as did a cousin who sometimes felt like a big brother to me when I was an adolescent. Each held its own significance. Grandma’s salutation spoke of honor, integrity; it was formal yet endearing. My cousin addressed me in a man-to-man way with an underlying fellowship of understanding and friendship. They each trustingly wrapped part of themselves-Grandma’s letters carried kindness, encouragement, and genuine interest (as my mom’s letters do today). From my cousin, came experiences and nightmares lived and re-lived, fears of today and worries for tomorrow. He confided in me, yearnings for squirrel hunting and walks in the woods- no longer entwined in the Vietnam fields of horror. Though I no longer have those letters-how I wish I could hold and reread them- I cherish the rich memory they provide me.  I have received countless out reaches through modern social media and a few are precious to me. Yet as movies are to books, E-mails are to letters. If I need to explain that to you, I recommend you sit down and read a good book then write a letter.

            Help your child write a letter to Santa. You can email the letter to him; however, the letters that bring a tear to Santa’s eye are generally those from the heart written in crayon.  Handwrite a letter to the local store, service center, or to the person who delivers your mail, or cuts your hair. Notice how the letters of thanks that businesses have on their walls make their environments friendlier. Do the handwritten letters draw your attention and interest more than the typewritten letters? Invoke nostalgia by sending your children, grandchildren, your mom, dad, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, or friend a handwritten letter telling them about a memory of some experience you enjoyed with them. Experiences especially those shared are often rich, pleasurable, and fulfilling. Handwritten letters, like experiences will leave lasting impressions.

            After pouring a part of your feelings and thoughts into a handcrafted correspondence, you want the delivery method to wrap the message with a tenderness felt by the receiver upon receipt. There is a sensory experience in receiving a personal card or letter in the mailbox not matched with technology based delivery. Better yet, consider delivering the card or letter in person; you can give a handshake and a hug along with your card or letter.

            So what are you waiting for? Get writing.

            The write way is often the best way. Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah.

Other personal stories and folktale postings:
     Ø  At the drop of a spoon (Alzheimer’s):