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The Art of Letter Writing

Lifestyle Blogger: Claudia Hufham

I’ve been home for what seems like an eternity at this point.

I am ready to see my friends, get out in public, but not bad enough to do it before it’s time. I did go to Lowes Hardware on Saturday sporting a very fashionable mask and blue latex gloves. I was surprised at the number of people that didn’t have on any protection! They had their kids in tow, oblivious to the fact that there is a deadly disease amongst us. I guess they were ‘too cool’ for a mask? Oh well, I can only look after myself.

Slow Down and Regroup

The dog and I have tried to use this pandemic as a time to slow down and regroup. It’s easy to get swept up in the heartbreak and fear, but for my sanity I need to find the good that has manifested from all this. People supporting each other, health care workers going above and beyond to take care of the sick, and the families of the sick. The list goes on and on and it’s what I choose to focus on.

I have had time to clean out closets, purge clothes I will never wear again, and even clean the gutters! I know right?  I have saved money on stuff that I apparently don’t need, because I don’t go to Target for vitamins and end up with a whole cart full of other stuff, not realizing until I get home that the vitamins never made it into the cart.

I’ve saved money on gas, but doesn’t it figure that the price of gas goes to an almost reasonable amount and I’m not going anywhere.

“But, the best thing to come out of this whole thing is my new appreciation for letter writing.”

Keeping In Touch

My 91 year old mother, who lives with my sister, and I are writing letters since we can’t see each other. We do talk on the phone sometimes, but it’s hard for her to hear everything I say, so writing has proven a great way to communicate.

So, I have been working on my letter writing skills; which in this day and age seems to be a lost art. I did, for a moment, wonder what I would write about, but, just like having a conversation with her, I have found it easy to fill up the pages with everything I’ve been doing – or, in some cases, not doing. What I’m cooking; who I’ve talked to; what the kids are doing; and stories about the dog. It seemed to come pretty easily.

My Mom writes back about books she is reading, how she is filling up her time, and her thoughts on my latest blog post. I wrote a post about how important the music of my life is and her next letter was all about the music that influenced her life. It was fun to see them broken down by decade.

What Makes Writing So Special

Writing a letter is so very personal. The time it takes to put pen to paper to the unmistakable handwriting that belongs only to the writer, makes each letter special. Handwriting is much like a fingerprint, no two are alike. There is little that is more personal than sending a letter in your own, beautiful or not so beautiful, distinctive handwriting.

Letters Are Treasures Worth Saving

I have a letter in a frame that hangs on the wall in my office. It’s from my Grandmother, my father’s mother, who I never got to meet because she died years before I was born. The letter is one she sent to my Dad when he was in the navy. It’s dated May 1, 1942. My dad kept the letter in his wallet until the day he died. It was one of his and now, my most cherished possessions. It makes me feel closer to her seeing her handwriting and what was important for her to write about at the time: sugar rationing and how much she loves him. It’s like a snapshot of what life was like for her and for my dad. It’s not something you can recreate.

The Things I Look Forward To

I’m not sure if it’s the lack of social contact or the drudgery of being here all day and all night with just the dog. (Who I think is getting tired of me being around), but getting a letter in my mailbox from my mom makes me happier than a bird with a french fry! My mailbox is usually full of bills or junk, but knowing that a real letter is coming makes me look forward to getting the mail and isn’t it nice to have something to look forward to?

The Gift of Time

One of my favorite things about the written word, is that whether you are professing your love, or asking for forgiveness, or just saying hello; it gives the reader time to process what you are saying. Unlike a conversation, text, or email, the receiver of the letter has the opportunity to take in what you are saying and there is no knee jerk response. They have time to contemplate your words and respond in their own time. A beautiful thing in this day and age of instant everything.

Family History

When my Grandmother died and we were going through her things, I found all the letters that I had written to her over the years.

“Letters outlive us.”

She had kept all of them and tied them up with a ribbon. I still have them today, along with letters that my parents wrote to me when I was at camp or in college.

This makes me sad that I don’t write about my own children, but I will pass the ones I have along after I am gone and I am going to start writing them a letter or card so they will have them after I am gone. Seems that letters are a part of our legacy and a way to preserve history.

Finding Your Letter Writing Skills

In order to fine tune your letter writing skills, I’ve found that it helps if you have some beautiful stationary or note cards! Either that or any excuse to order something new is always good by me. You can purchase beautiful stationary note cards right here on Kuel Life that make you excited to write. If the Kuel Life offering is not exactly what you are looking for; you can find personalized with your initials or humorous, beautiful or even paper that looks old on Amazon; whatever trips your trigger and inspires you to write that letter.

You can take it even further by finding stamps that represent your own style. They have come a long way these days and not to mention the USPS needs our help! You can get stamps with Elvis, Earth Day, American gardens, Maine, Arnold Palmer and the list goes on. Find the stamp that is yours.

A good pen can also inspire you. Of course it doesn’t really matter what kind of pen you use. It can be the $1.99 pens from Target, as long as it feels good in your hand. If you really want to get fancy, find an ink pen with a cartridge.

Let’s face it, we are all struggling with how to fill our time these days. So why not spend a few minutes writing someone that you think needs a pick-me-up or someone you hadn’t talked to in a while? Now’s the time!

If you really want the person to write you back, you can always include a self addressed stamped envelope. Nothing says “Hey write me back!” than getting them half the way there!

Who To Write To?

Well, we can start with your parents or grandparents. If this is still an option for you consider yourself lucky! I can feel you rolling your eyes, but come on, if they can learn to text, you can write them a letter once in a while! It will make them so happy and it will cost you very little!

Write your children, siblings, cousins, aunt or uncle. My family used to take vacations together and see each other on holidays. We don’t do that much anymore. Writing them a letter to “catch up” would be fun for both of you. I have several letters from high school friends when we went off to college and friends from camp. It’s fun to go back and read them.

Love Letters

Photo Credit: John Jennings on Unsplash

“Some of the greatest letters ever written are love letters.”

Some of the greatest letters ever written are love letters. You can tell someone how you feel, but as time goes by they may forget exactly what you said. If you write it down they can always go back and re-read it. It’s a wonderful reminder of the love you have between the two of you.

After they are gone or you are gone, it will be something you can go back to to remember.

In 1942, on the heels of World War II, George H. Bush enlisted in the Navy, and while stationed overseas, wrote letters to both his parents and then-girlfriend, Barbara Pierce.

“This should be a very easy letter to write — words should come easily and in short it should be simple for me to tell you how desperately happy I was to open the paper and see the announcement of our engagement, but somehow I can’t possibly say all in a letter I should like to. I love you, precious, with all my heart and to know that you love me means my life. How often I have thought about the immeasurable joy that will be ours some day. How lucky our children will be to have a mother like you…”

Can you imagine what a beautiful thing that was to receive and how many times she must have read those words? Makes me get a little misty just reading myself.

Write your spouse or partner. I bet they’d rather get a handwritten letter from you, than anything you order off of Amazon.

Find A PenPal

If you don’t have family or friends that you want to write to you can always find a penpal. Finding someone with similar interests as you it’s not hard these days with Facebook groups and the internet. There are even several PenPal Facebook groups. You could start by searching “PenPals” or you can type in a hobby that you have and find a penpal there. Step out of your comfort zone for a minute, it might be fun to make a new friend!

Old Friends

If Penpals are not your thing, then write a friend, one that lives close by, or those that live far away. Send a note to a neighbor, fellow church goer, someone you haven’t seen or talked to while we’ve been hunkered down.

Your Representative

You can even write your Representative. I think they probably receive a lot of emails, but maybe not so many handwritten notes. It might make yours stand out from the rest. Just don’t let this get you fired up or mad. Remember to always be polite! You know that whole saying “You attract more flies with honey” which might be a southern thing. Point is, being nice pays off more than being ugly.

Even Yourself

How about writing yourself a letter! I remember having an assignment in high school to write a letter to ourselves. She had us put it in a self addressed stamped envelope. The teacher took them and a year later she mailed them to us. It was funny and inspiring and a great reminder of how far I had come in just a year. So write yourself a letter. Put it in a drawer and set a reminder on your phone or ask Alexa to remind you to read the letter in a month, six months or a year.
While you have the time, master the art of writing a letter and brighten someone’s day.

Claudia Hufham

About the Author

Claudia Hufham is a blogger, mom to two grown kids and a Boxer/American Bulldog, who found herself looking for a new career at age 59. In her quest to reinvent herself and save her sanity, she started a blog. Her humor and down to earth story telling of her life lessons have led her to be featured on sites like Feedspot.com. You can read more from Claudia at Claudiareinvented. You can follow Claudia on her Instagram and FaceBook Page as well.

Claudiareinvented is featured on Feedspot as one of the Top 10 Women Over 50 Blogs