First, I’d like to thank…Persian Queen Atossa! According to the historian Hellanicus you were the first – so Mamnoon to you! Second, I’d like to give a shout out to Benjamin Franklin whose efforts cut the travel time in half, so Ben I’m sending a mighty – Thank Ye! And cheers to my mom who stressed the importance of being thoughtful – Heartfelt Gratitude to you always!
April is National Letter Writing month and I couldn’t be happier. In 500 BC, when Queen Atossa first put reed to papyrus, little did she know that she was blazing a trail for us letter writers! Although it may have taken days, weeks or even months for a letter to reach its recipient, handwritten correspondence forever changed the way we communicated. Then in 1755, as Postmaster of the United States, Franklin literally pushed the envelope. By streamlining routes and having mail travel by night as well as day, letters got into awaiting hands quicker and easier. And in Kindergarten when I was old enough to hold a pencil, it was my mom who instilled in me the love and purpose of letter writing! Not a week goes by that I don’t indulge in this craft.
Everything that goes into writing a letter or card makes my heart sing. From choosing the implement – pencil, pen, calligrapher’s quill…to selecting the vehicle to carry the words – lined paper, fancy pants stationery or a store bought card…all are worthy. Then there’s picking the perfect envelope and stamp to place on it. Both add to the enjoyment of this fine art. But then, then comes the best part of all, the writing! There’s nothing like the feeling of putting pen to paper and letting the words flow from your heart.
From my journal: April 18, 2020, Thousand Oaks, CA
“Heard from E.G. today… such a sweet letter..she thanked me for remembering her…she’s celebrating her 94th birthday in a few days!”
My letter writing life began with simple Thank You notes. Then I graduated to writing cards to acknowledge relatives’ birthdays and major holidays. From there, my circle of Pen Pals widened as I left home and started keeping in touch with my family and friends. Over the years I’ve collected more writing buddies whenever and wherever we relocated.
Emotion, personality, and insight can be conveyed through a handwritten letter. And sometimes writing one is the only way to give voice to an experience and share it with someone else. For decades now, I’ve written and received letters in times of celebration, in times of need and everything in between. Some of these letters have been several pages long, others just a few lines. Still each and every one has truly been and continues to be, a gift from the creator to the receiver.