Monday, December 23, 2013

The Handwritten Letter

photo by gary barnes

On the top of my bookshelf in my childhood bedroom is a floral-printed box filled with letters and cards. The contents are the remnants of a year spent away from home. I didn't keep everything, but I kept the ones that mattered. And while many people sent me things during that year, almost a third of the letters I kept were from my Grandma Judy.

I learned the fine art of letter writing from my Grandma Judy. She never sat me down to outline what makes a solid, heartfelt letter. Rather, she taught by example-- and through hundreds of letters over the years. They tell of the everyday moments in her life: of the birds in her garden and their coming and going; of the weather and the changing of seasons; of taking her 90-something-year-old mother to her weekly hair appointments; of the recipes she tries and the craft projects she takes on; of lunch dates and visits with beloved family members and friends. 

Then, how am I doing? What have I been up to? How is [insert activity] going? An open invitation to share, if I feel so inclined.

My Grandma Judy sends her love repeatedly, and I believe in and treasure that love.

Some letters are handwritten in the most graceful of cursive. Others are typed. But each letter is hand-addressed, stamped, and physically sent to the recipient. And there's something so sweet about such a gift in the age of digital correspondence.

Grandma Judy's letters are scattered about-- some in the floral box, some in desk drawers, boxes, folders. They get tucked away then found and appreciated once more. I intend for this to continue for years to come. If my children and grandchildren are finding letters tucked away someday, I will feel satisfied and blessed. They will know that they are loved in the way that I feel loved through these letters.

- Allison

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