Greetings, 2015!

Welcome to a new year – full of good intentions. May at least some of them survive the first week!

I have written a very short list this year – if one item can be called a list. I have simply promised (myself) to write to my friends and family – on real old-fashioned paper, put in a real old-fashioned envelope and stamped with a real o-f stamp and popped in the post.  Letter number 1 is already on its way – so at least week 1 has some positive evidence. I’m not doing this in order to prompt a reply – rather, just to do something joyful and more lasting than an email. (I can’t tweet – don’t ask me…)317

All this makes me wonder what other ‘resolutions’ have set people off on a mission (so to speak). There are the old ones – like giving up cigarettes (I don’t smoke) giving up being nasty (hope I don’t ever need to confess to that one) or ‘being a better person’ (whatever that entails) – most of which are forgotten as soon as the Christmas decorations are down. But a positive resolution (just as long as it doesn’t involve a gym) is probably more achievable. I’d like to write one letter a week – say, 50 before next Christmas (and I’m not counting post cards) so I will be supporting the post office if nothing else.

My mother used to write to her mother every week, receiving a letter by return. In the days before email and cheap phone calls, when a visit entailed two long bus rides and a train journey, and Norfolk seemed to be as far away as the moon, this was a practical and rewarding habit – which, to my benefit, she continued with me – writing to me when I left home for college and never stopping a fairly regular correspondence right up to the age of about 80. I came across some of her letters the other day. They weren’t exactly the stuff of memoirs, but a relationship shone from the page – she clearly knew what I was doing and was wishing me well. Looking back, I’m not sure I realised what that meant when I was in my twenties – but now, waving my own children off after the Christmas holidays, wishing them well, enjoying seeing their lives – from one remove, perhaps, but with genuine love and appreciation of who they are, I see a little better that long ago relationship, written out on small sheets of paper and folded in an envelope – a capsule of something very important, now confined to memory. Here is one of her very early efforts, written when she was about 9, to her grandmother 🙂S4300336 (Please note: in those days one could bank on a post card reaching home before you!)

So, here is a plea for the old-fashioned letter. Why not pick up your pen and write one yourself. You never know what that might mean to the recipient(s). Send a little light out into the January darkness. Go on. Do it.

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About apthomas

I love books, reading, writing, baking, chocolate, painting, sewing, people and fairtrade - not necessarily in that order. I am a lazy gardener - who loves the garden, and a lazy housewife who likes the place to be warm and welcoming. I live in beautiful Somerset. I am enslaved by Sherpa-the-cat. Saturday mornings find me 'playing shop' in the Honey Pot - a second hand bookshop, run from my garage, where along with the books you'll find fun, friendship and refreshments - all in a good cause.
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6 Responses to Greetings, 2015!

  1. nctyler says:

    I am writing more letters. I started at the end of October, 2014–missing the letters which formed the primary way I used to communicate with people before email; when long-distance telephone calls were costly. I am finding new ways to fill the letter-writing gap left by the death of parents, aunts, etc. It is very satisfying. Thank you for a great blog entry.

  2. Susan in TX says:

    I love this! With my firstborn in her first year of university, I’ve been sending her weekly notes in the mail (even though we talk and text sometimes between). I was thrilled to see “stationery” show up on her Christmas list. She realized how much encouragement she was receiving from my notes and wanted to spread some of her own. I’m hoping to branch out beyond just my daughter this year. There’s just nothing like a hand-written note received in the mail. Best to you in the new year!

    • apthomas says:

      Thank you Sue – and all the best to you too! May your correspondence with your daughter bring joy to you both. I recently came across several of my mother’s letters to me. Some I was able to throw away – they didn’t say anything much – but others are definite keepers, even all these years later. You’d better buy yourself a box to keep yours in!

  3. Terra says:

    I enjoy writing and receiving letters and cards in the mail too. 50 cards in a year is a big project you are taking on.

    • apthomas says:

      Add up all the emails and messages you send and I expect you’ll be close to the number of letters sent years ago – when there used to be several postal collections and deliveries each day! I am really enjoying taking time out each week to do this – it is making me realise how much I cherish and value my friends!

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