I love the mailman. I love the mailman because he is the one who holds all the potential of mail in his mailsack.
I don’t know when this obsession with mail began, but I do recall listening for the squeak of the rusty hinges on the old mailbox at my childhood home as a young girl. And watching for him from my bedroom window.
Six days a week is ripe with the possibility of a letter. Or a catalogue. Or a magazine. Reading material of some sort. No matter where I have worked, my co-workers are aware of my delight when the post was delivered.
And yes, even in this age of email, Twitter, and texting, there is nothing like the handwritten letter.
Shocked? Don’t be. For all my embracing of social media, the personality of the author is lost in correspondence when committed to screen in Times New Roman. Every letter looks the same. The content, of course, differs. But one printed email looks like any other. And in that sameness, we are that much more removed from the identity of the letter writer.
Whether away at camp or at college, simply seeing my name and address on the front of the envelope made me smile as I recognized the penmanship. My mother’s small, perfect script. My father’s barely-legible scrawl. My grandmother’s elegant hand. My grandfather’s artistic flair.
In my garage, awaiting The Big Move, sit boxes that contain precious letters, cards, and notes. Physical mementos from loved ones, now gone. I am longing for the day when the kitchen is unpacked, closets organized, and kids are settled. For it is when that time comes that I will be afforded the time to reread those letters. To hold the same pages that soaked in the ink and touched the hands of those who penned them. What will I find in those boxes? Stories long forgotten? Words of encouragement? Or disappointment? Expressions of love? And will the passage of time shed light on old misunderstandings? Weaken resentments? Heal wounds?
What awaits me in those boxes, I do not know. But I am curious. Oh, so curious…
Red Writing Hood is a writing meme. This week’s prompt asked us to talk about finding a forgotten letter or card from someone important in your life–whether good or bad. What does it say? How does it affect you or your character? What is done with it? It is a premature prompt as all of my letters are packed up and waiting for the moving vans. As always, constructive criticism is appreciated.