I'm only 30 years old, but I remember this time with great fondness. I was 10 years old when I first discovered my love of writing. My family had just moved up to Northern California from my childhood home in San Bernardino, CA. Shortly before the move my mother had planted the seed. She mentioned that I could stay in touch with my girlfriends through letters and helped me amass an entire collection of pretty stationary specifically for the purpose of composing letters to friends and family members.
Each day I'd run to our old fashioned rural mailbox, two long braids trailing down my back, with the great hope of receiving a letter from a faraway friend. Most days I wouldn't find anything addressed to me, but once a week or so I'd find a pretty pink or purple envelope tucked in amongst my parents' bills and junk mail.
Perhaps it was a simple girlhood thrill of receiving something addressed to me in the mail. Maybe it had something to do with my secret girlhood dream of having a pen pal who, over a lifetime of letters, would become my best and truest friend. I suppose it doesn't matter why I loved it so much. Some things just are.
Twenty years have passed and I still love receiving notes addressed to me in the mail. I've managed to save virtually every letter I've received from friends and family over the years, and they're all tucked neatly away in a box under my bed. Maybe someday I'll pull them out and reread them. The short ones from my girlhood friends. The long ones from my parents when I was away at college. The ones my grandfather and I wrote to each other the summer before he died a few years ago (he saved each of my letters and I now have them stowed safely in my box).
These days, I've joined the masses and switched primarily to e-mail, but sometimes I wonder if something has been lost. You transfer a part of yourself onto the page when you handwrite a letter. The long or short loops in your handwriting are as much a part of the story as the words you have written. The time you take selecting the right paper, writing out your thoughts and tucking everything into an envelope is a true mark of love and friendship.