The Letter Writing Revolution

Revitalizing a Lost Art One Letter at a Time

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Gift of a Letter

Over the holidays, we received a lovely package from our friend, Joan. Joan was a dear friend of my husband's mother, Marjorie. They were friends as teenagers and until Marjorie's passing at the age of 39. A couple of weeks before Christmas, Joan emailed me and asked if I thought it would be appropriate for her to send an old letter that my husband's mother had written to Joan when she was a teenager and spending some months in Florida. I, of course, said, "Absolutely!"

So, the package arrived and Tim chose to place the letter under the tree with all of the gifts.

This is the letter under the tree
We have a tradition in our home that we get to open one gift on Christmas Eve. Tim decided to open his Christmas Eve Day and chose the letter. Just knowing that his mother had touched this paper and that it was her beautiful penmanship was enough but reading her adolescent musings and comical descriptions of her life as a teenager was priceless.

As he finished reading the letter, the phone rang and it was Tim's sister calling him as she, too, had received a letter from Joan. I listened to them talking and laughing and trying to figure out details by comparing the letters. One letter had been written a month before the other. For a moment, it was though she were alive again......her thoughts and words spilling out into this present moment. And I thought how different it will be  30 years from now when there are very few records like this one. Everyone is so busy emailing and texting. Encourage your children to have at least one writing partner. One person to whom they can share their thoughts, dreams, disappointments and broken hearts. These letters become our life story. Perhaps, the only written record we have in the end.


  1. I'm so glad I checked TLWR one more time before we head off on our road trip... and I will of course be checking in from afar. Love the photo and especially love that Tim and Sherry enjoyed reading and sharing their mom's letters. xox

  2. What a wonderful, thoughtful gift! Such a treasure.

  3. Beautiful! I had shivers when you said that Tim put his letter under the tree.
    What a treasure!
    I have letters from my teen years received from cousins and friends. I should see if they have any of mine so I could see what I said then.
    Both of my girls have penpals (and aunts to write to) so they are on their way to recording their herstories. You inspire them!

  4. Great post...when decluttering I always think I should just chuck old letters. Then I wonder where the hundreds of letters I've written over the years have ended up...the mysterious and romantic Stephanie will be like the Lucy of future archaeologists/anthropologists! Ha!

  5. What a great story


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