Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on April 16, 2012
I’ve been sorting through a box of memorabilia dating back to congratulation cards my parents received when I was born. In the interest of decluttering, I’ve thrown out all greeting cards except the ones from my immediate family, old report cards, menus and certificates that are no longer meaningful.
I’m more hesitant to discard letters. Some are written by me to my parents describing my travels and experiences. Some are letters that my parents wrote to me. And some are from my husband in our early acquaintance days. What a treasure these represent! And what a sad loss to society today that we no longer receive hand-written letters like these.
Emails and text messages are so much more impersonal, quick paragraphs in abbreviated language that don’t describe events with the depth found in a hand-written letter. A person had to take the time to compose their thoughts, write them neatly in legible script, and mail the letter. These missives had emotional impact sorely lacking in today’s form of communication. One used to find such a letter in the mail and open it with anticipation and joy. Pages of handwriting would unfold, and we could share the scribe’s life albeit vicariously.
In this age, end of the year holiday letters might summarize events in typewritten form that goes out to all the people on a sender’s mailing list. It’s not personal, directed to the receiver. Nor is an email a keeper. Sure, we can print one out, but it lacks the personal touch, the ink on paper, the crinkly feel of a real letter on a piece of pretty stationery. When’s the last time you used old fashioned stationery? Sent a real greeting card? In schools today, cursive writing is no longer being taught. I am sad for this loss. I am sad that we no longer get letters that are worth saving in our time capsule boxes of memorabilia. Writing letters is a lost art, subjugated to the progress of technology. Or maybe it’s just one less thing for our heirs to throw out some day.
Are you a saver of memorabilia or are you a minimalist? Do you miss the days of hand-written letters and personally penned greeting cards?