Real Mail

A blogger I follow, A Day In The Life of a Latvian Mom, wrote about getting an actual hand written letter and her trepidation in reading it because the last time she received a hand written letter several years ago was a sad one from a former beau.  This post got me to thinking….when was the last time I received a hand written letter?  Hmmmm……

Thinking back I believe it was from my husband’s Aunt Kay who passed away in 2002.  Aunt Kay always wrote the most wonderful letters filled with whatever was going on in her life at the time and her hopes for the future.  She told stories in her letters; she shared recipes; she shared her feelings; she wanted the reader to feel like they spent time with her.  When you got a letter from Aunt Kay it was truly a work of love.  Throughout her life, she kept the family together with her descriptive letters.  My hubby’s family lives all over the US and it was Aunt Kay that kept them close; kept them in touch with everything going on in the Midwest.  She loved her family fiercely and was instrumental in keeping them informed on the family news.

As a child I can remember getting a letter in the morning mail and Mom would not open it till after dinner.  She kept it to read at the dinner table once we were finished eating where she was sure we would all be together and she would have our full attention.  Mom believed if someone cared enough to share a part of their day with us, we should be courteous enough to share some of our time reading their letter and discussing it together.  For after all, these friends and family took time to write, we needed to honor their efforts by taking time to listen and read.

No one wanted to miss Mom reading the letter from extended family or friends in another state or country because we were sure to learn something new, share some tidbit of gossip or find out when these wonderful people were coming to visit.  There was always some reference to a place unfamiliar to us.  Then once the dinner dishes were cleared away the atlas would come out to find that elusive place and cement in our minds the location of our loved ones.  It was through other’s descriptions of daily life in exotic(to us) places that improved our geographic skills and gave each of us an understanding of life away from home.  Sharing their daily events brought us closer to these folks that we saw so sporadically we may never have felt close were it not for those wonderfully descriptive letters.  And, when they came to visit, oh how we’d laugh and relive their experiences; getting the entire story of what that event meant to them.

A hand written letter is more than mere words on paper.  Mom always said it was like getting a piece of themselves, like sharing their world.

Isn’t it wonderful that hand written letters evoke such strong feelings of love, contentment and anticipation?  When did you last receive “Real Mail”.  Maybe it’s time to start writing real letters again. Maybe we need to share ourselves on paper, our hopes, our dreams, our everyday life.  Who would you write to and what would you share?


  1. I aspire to approach Aunt Kay’s achievement in my my renewed interest in writing “real mail”. I have found that it is not only the receiver who has feelings awoken (if they do) by reading a ‘proper’ letter, but in my recent experience the writer too.
    To answer your question, the last time I received a hand written letter was about a week ago; it was in reply to one I wrote to one of my former students in Romania and, you’re right, it has a totally different effect to a digitally sent communication.
    There is another great advantage,, handwritten letters are easier to keep (or more difficult to discard) and can give lovely moments in the future. In a past post I said that when my mother died I found she had kept every letter I wrote to her during my 11.1/2 years in Romania and the handwritten ones, when I did not have access to a computer or printer, are definitely ‘different’ and more precious.

    Liked by 2 people

    • In thinking about writing and receiving letters I found it was Aunt Kay that often was the inspiration for me to write. I love writing but often just pick up the phone and call. I miss receiving letters. The fact that these missals can be read and reread over and over again comforts me and brings the same feelings of love and affection for both the writer and the intended recipient. I hang onto all the letters people write. Yes, it is easier to pack these away for those days when I need a little pick-me-up than it is to boot up the computer to find an email. Additionally, I think I often express myself better with pen and paper than by typing. I so enjoy rereading the words of love sent to me. Maybe I’ll start writing to my grandsons on the east coast.

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  2. I’m the letter writer in our family and always have been. Sadly no-one writes back, though some of our friends from the boating community and the surrounding area keep in touch by snail mail. The last such letter I had was about six weeks ago.
    I miss writing to my Mum, which I used to do once or twice week, even knowing I wouldn’t get a reply. I don’t think I have a single letter from her anywhere now, apart from a short handwritten note on the bottom of her will which was my undoing when I read it, even if I only have a photocopy. I have a large box of papers in the roof, so maybe there is a letter from her in it. I know I have a lot of birthday and Christmas cards from her from yesteryear, and they are now doubly precious.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes, it seems I only send cards by snail mail and i hope that qualifies as “Real Mail” but sadly, it’s not the same as receiving a letter. I know my grandsons enjoy getting cards by mail and I send them for most holidays. I don’t know if a letter for them would be momentous or just their Yiayia being weird again. Sadly, technology has gotten the better of all of us I believe; I often pop off a quick email or text instead of sitting down to put pen to paper.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for being the inspiration for today’s post. I so enjoy your posts and living vicariously through them. Being a young mom so far away is intriguing. You have such a good way with your girls and are teaching them so many of the same kinds of thing I shared with my daughter when she was a child.
      I’ve never had a PenPal but it could be fun to exchange letters across the miles. I would love to write to you if you know how to share addresses. Maybe PM through Facebook?

      Liked by 1 person

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