Saying goodbye to handwritten letters.

Last night my son, Drew, was finishing up a journal entry for school and wanted us to read it.  My older son grabs it and begins to read out loud in a voice and manner that only a big brother knows how to do. He had us all cracking up and I wondered if my journal entries from school would be as entertaining.  There began my hunt in the basement for the box that Mom and Dad had given me years ago with all my stuff from school. Amazingly I didn’t have to dig to deep for it. There it was my 5th grade journal. Covered in smelly stickers and declarations of my love for the Iowa Hawkeyes.  I was shockingly surprised that a Mead spiral notebook hasn’t changed much in 30 years.

I began to read what I had written and it was like I time warped back to 1985. Everything I wrote about I had forgotten, but still remembered? How cool it was to imagine me sitting at my desk looking at the chalkboard for our daily journal prompts. All the kids in the room quiet and reflecting on a topic and what it meant to them. I was surprised at how adult some of my thoughts were. Who knew adults like to drink “Gin Atomics,” (which was on my list of items for the best Thanksgiving meal ever). It had me thinking about my own kids and how I just couldn’t imagine those thoughts in their little brains. It was definitely eye opening for me to realize they pay attention to way more than I thought they did. Albeit, there were a lot of childish thoughts too…more age appropriate and naive.  I can only imagine what a treat all those journals were to read for our teacher.

The kids of course wanted to see my handwriting and how horrible it was. So I handed it over to them and much to their dismay not only was the handwriting great but it was in cursive. They couldn’t read it very well! What a shame they don’t learn the beauty of writing in cursive. It is an art, and I guess as the handwritten word slowly disappears so does the need to learn it. I still deep down wish it wasn’t this way. There is something so special about reading a handwritten letter that they will never know. I am so happy the schools have not taught typing early so I can treasure their handwritten stories. Imagine if the Declaration of Independence was on a typed piece of paper; wouldn’t it seem cold and unfeeling? Handwriting has a way of connecting you to the person who wrote it. It truly is something to be treasured.

I have saved several things people have written to me over the years. I enjoy reading them again and again. I still have the letter my father wrote to me when I was homesick at college, the “poems” my friend Mendy sent me which always made me smile, birthday cards galore, the sweet letters my husband wrote me while we were dating. The list goes on and on. Maybe I am a pack rat but I am so happy that I saved these things. I wish my kids knew what it was like to see a letter to them in the mailbox. It is definitely a different feeling than getting a text or email. I think my generation may be one of the last to know. Thinking back I wish I would have done something cool like written my kids letters every year on their birthday and mailed it to them. Well, I guess I will save that one for my grandkids if we still have mail service. It sure has me wondering what our methods of communication will be by then, hard to imagine.

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