Saturday, March 20, 2010

My New, Old Thing

Letters are among the most significant memorial
a person can leave behind them.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

My Grandfather wrote letters to my Grandmother during WWII; letters I found bundled in her garage last year. The tightly-tied parcels were like paper presents, the writing unfamiliar to me... the stamps and markings both foreign and strange. The crinkled pages inside the envelopes told of feelings and promises that exist now only in my Grandmother's fading memories. And in the significant memorial my wonderful Grandfather left.

I decided after reading the lot that I would become a letter writer. A dying art form, to be sure. But an entirely lovely one. I mean, how often do you get a handwritten letter? A card, maybe, with a line or two penned at the bottom. But a letter? Rarely. I miss letters. I want to send and receive letters. And I wonder: in an era of email and text and Facebook, what are we leaving behind for our grandchildren to find fifty years from now?

So I write. I write people I love, people I've met, people (like a daughter?) I have yet to meet. I have a new, old thing: letters. Stamps. Stationery. Ink. I'm snatching up creamy, heavy pages... old, beautiful postage... and cork-capped bottles of liquid inks. And I'm writing.

With each bundle that leaves my hand bound for someone I love, I realize: my letters aren't just chaining souls; they're building my memorial.

If you're interested in letters, too, here's where I started:
Vintage Postage reclaimed by VerdeStudio
Stationery from Kate's Paperie


Anonymous said...

How lovely, Brin. Where was your Grandfather during wwII, womewhere in my old Europe ? Or Afrika ? Meaby he came to my home town in The Netherlands ?
Yes, handwritten letters: beautiful.
Lieve groeten
Godeliva van Ariadone

Life is 5 Minutes Long said...

I thnk a hand written note is the ultimate I am thnking about someone moment.

Tammy said...

Alexandra Stoddard also has a lovely book about letter writing, called Gift of a Letter that is well worth hunting down! It along with Tea Celebrations and Creating A Beautiful Home are my favorites of all her books.

Unknown said...

I miss letters too, in this new age of text and email, I too am guilty of not writing like I use too. You had a great point, we must leave something for our grandchildren to treasure. I will do better.

Betty said...

Oh I so agree with you Brin! A friend and I decided long ago that we would keep writing letters to each other no matter what technology came about and we still are..
Those letters are a wonderful find and I am sure you are treasuring them dearly.

Linda Z said...

I have been thinking some of these very same thoughts, lately. I love the written word, and want to take time to bless people with letters.

I'm going to order a beautiful return address stamp from etsy, too. Here's a link to some if you're interested! :)

debbie bailey said...

One of my most precious possessions is a stack of letters from my grandma. I too have thought about the lack of letters being mailed today because of e-mail and texting. I vow to write more letters and then cave in because of the ease of e-mailing. I need to do better...much better.

Vee said...

It is wonderful that your grandmother kept her letters from your grandfather. My grandmother, now 100, destroyed all of her love letters this past year saying that they were no one's business. It is a sorrow to me and to my mother. I try to write a letter now and then and I do love to receive a letter. I'm glad that you will be writing letters to your family and friends, but I consider your blog to be a beautiful letter of sorts.

The Blogless Sister said...

Ooh, I so agree with you!

Btw two favourite books of mine: 84 Charing Cross Road + The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Both are in a "letter form" and I looove it :-)

Amy said...

I'm a letter writer, too, Brin. I used to have a wax seal with my initial, but somehow have misplaced it. Ever use one? They are so 1800's :) Too much fun, as well.

How's Millie?


Kristie @ Comfy Cozy said...

A handwritten letter...I can't think of a better piece of mail to receive! I have shoe boxes of letters that my husband and I wrote when he was away for 5 months and I cherish them so!

Shelley in SC said...

Love all the old stamps. Mmmm! The little "zip code guy" brings back memories : ). My grandmother put in me a love for the actual physical letter. Thanks for making it fresh again with these gorgeous pictures!

Susan W said...

Glad to see you blogging again. I agree with you about letters being a valuable keepsake--I know I treasure mine. You are into so many different and interesting things! Where can I find your AOL blog? Been looking forward to it...

Cathy said...

Darn, had this comment all written and it disappeared!

Hi Brin! I am the winner of the Agatha Raisin books and a reader of your blog for a long time now. I am also a letter writer and have been since I was very young. I write to everyone! I travled as for work you are now for years and always dropped letters in the mail to family and friends. I love to seal them with wax. I tuck beribboned stacks in my husbands suitcase when he for each day he is away. I am the gal who was laid off her job about the same time you were. I opened my own Human Resource Staffing and Consulting company 9 months ago today. We are doing well and so much of what you wrote was inspirational to me. Thank you. Take care and keep on writing. It is a beautiful legacy.

sherry said...

Before we married, Rocky and I wrote to each other for 2 years (long distance relationship). We'd call a couple times a week and visit every 2 weeks ($$$). Those letters though - what treasures. I have them wrapped in twine and in a pretty vintage box. Priceless snippets of tenderness...

jAne * tickleberry farm

myletterstoemily said...

what a lovely gesture! i am
thrilled whenever i receive
a letter.

my daughter writes the most
wonderful ones.

blessings on you pen,

Seawashed said...

I write letters...I've been writing notes and letters since as far back into childhood as I can remember. But my letter writing really took off when I left home at age 17. I am now 43 and have been writing my best friend from High School these 26yrs. She writes me too, and we save our letters in shoe boxes in hopes of one day when we are old an grey we can sit together on the front porch and open those boxes together and remember.

I also keep journals...been doing that since H.S too. And I've told my children that these will be left for you to read one day when I die. I've written notes to them inside those pages...they don't know that. I want to leave them my love.

Maybe someday I will take the time to copy all these pages of my blog to put together in book form for them too. Isn't that a lovely idea to leave behind for children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. Hmmm you've got me thinking.

Enjoy your writing is a beautiful thing.