Rediscover the Lost Art of Letter Writing

By Lora Felger, Health Alliance

How long has it been since you received an actual letter in the mail? You know what I mean, something from a friend or family member that is handwritten and addressed with a real stamp on it? Do you even keep stamps in the house? I usually keep a few for the one or two bills I don’t have set up for online payment.

Right now, my stamp supply still features Santa Claus’ face. That’s how many letters I send these days.

I understand and appreciate the quickness of email and texting, especially for something brief and to the point. Skype is helping to keep many businesses moving as they adjust to so many employees working from home.

With all the electronic communication options available today, a letter is not only a rarity but a definite attention-getter. Chances are, if you’re getting something in your mailbox with your name handwritten on it and an actual stamp attached, it’s from a parent or grandparent remembering your birthday.

I can still remember how much I enjoyed getting letters when I was at camp. My cousin and I went to Girl Scout camp in Wisconsin when we were about 8 years old. We got postcards each day from our parents and grandparents that ended with the exact same line, “Remember to change your underwear.” It still sticks in my mind some 45 years later, so it really meant something.

Attention to all of you: It’s that time again to honor those who gave us life or those not related to us who gave us a new outlook on life—Mother’s Day!

How can we honor mothers and grandmothers in this new world where a seemingly undetectable germ for some can cause a dire illness or hospitalization for others, especially in the older population?

After weeks of being apart, can you imagine the joy a handwritten letter could bring to our mothers (and fathers)? Handwritten letters take more time than typing, but they tend to make us more focused on what we are actually taking the time to write. Handwritten letters are straight from the heart and out through our fingertips.

While you’ve got that pen/pencil/crayon in your hand, let’s keep the good mojo going. Contact your local senior center or senior living facility and offer to write to someone they suggest that could use some cheering up.

Isolation in our older population is a challenge even during the best of times. Today, thanks to that pesky virus, it’s an epidemic itself. Teach your kids to write letters and invite those you’re corresponding with to write back. I’m willing to bet you’ll be cheered up, too. Perhaps the sight of that handwritten envelope in your mailbox will be just the lift you need.

Lora Felger is a community and broker liaison at Health AllianceTM. She is the mother of 2 terrific boys,  a world traveler, and a major Iowa State Cyclones fan. Like this article? Feel free to respond to [email protected]. Thanks for reading!

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