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When Was the Last Time You Wrote a Letter?

This week is Universal Letter Writing Week, thus prompting the question: "When was the last time you wrote a letter?" Emails and texts don't count. A real letter. On paper. In an envelope. With a stamp.

If you're like many people, it was probably a while ago. With online communication so prevalent -- and easy -- few of us take the time to sit down and put pen to paper. And that's a shame.

A good friend of mine writes to her mother

(who lives out of state) every Sunday. It's a tradition they have had for years. Sure, they talk on the phone, but my friend says how much she enjoys both writing to her mother and reading the letters she gets in return. And it's a written record of their shared history. That's priceless.

Of late I have become obsessed with the new Shonda Rhimes' series, Bridgerton. One thing I especially love about it is the delivery of the daily mail and how much anticipation there is with regard to having a letter on the silver tray with your name on it. I also like that the mail is delivered on a silver tray, but I digress. Here in 2021 we can all replicate that anticipation. All it takes is paper, a writing instrument, and a small investment of time.

I mentioned paper. Now is an ideal time to inventory your stationery wardrobe to see what you have and what may be missing. At the very least you'll want personalized notecards and letter sheets. I like to have my address printed on the envelope flaps, too. If you stick to white or ecru, you'll be in good shape for formal correspondence (like sympathy notes) as well as for-fun correspondence (like notes to friends).

I mentioned a writing instrument. Formal correspondence is ideally written in black or blue ink. In casual correspondence you can use purple or orange or green ink to jazz things up a bit. Have fun with stamps, too. I use the basic ones (American flags or birds) for formal correspondence, but I have a few sheets of Scooby-Doo stamps for less official notes and letters.

I mentioned a small investment of time. It really doesn't take long to dash off a note to a friend with a newspaper article you think they might find interesting. It doesn't take long to write a note on a birthday card. It doesn't take long to send a thank-you note to your veterinarian for taking such good care of your animals. Not much time, but what an impact all of these have on the recipient. I know how much it means to me to get "real" mail. And it means a lot to me to send it, too.

To dip my toe back in to the pool of written correspondence, I started sending real birthday cards to people a few months back. If you didn't get one, it's because I don't know when your birthday is. I have a birthday book a friend of mine (shout out to Anne Putnam Dobson) gave me back in the 1980s where I can record special occasions that warrant a card or note or letter. I have added quite a few names (thank you Facebook) and am thoroughly enjoying using it with greater frequency.

So, let's all celebrate Universal Letter Writing Week by sending at least one piece of written correspondence. Maybe next week you can send two.



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