Friday, June 17, 2011

Letters from Home

The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium. ~Norbet Platt

Today I did something I haven't done in a really long time - I wrote a letter to someone I didn't know.  Not just a cute card sent in to a friend at college, but an honest-to-goodness, handwritten on lined paper letter.

hand writing
Not my pen, or my penmanship

Danielle, a friend of mine from college, had told me of a airman in her husband's basic training class that hasn't received any letters since the start of training.  She'd sent out a note asking if anyone would be willing to write to him, and without anything to fill my days lately, I had no reason not to say yes.

There's something romantic about handwritten letters.  I've always liked giving them and receiving them but nowadays it's much easier to power up a computer and send an instant email or message.  (I have at least two shoeboxes full of handwritten cards and letters that I've received since I was a kid).  I like to think about all the hands touching my letter, and the excitement the recipient will feel when opening it.

I love letters
I will admit, though, that the experience of writing to an unknown serviceman was more stressful than I'd imagined.  What do I write to someone I've never met?  (I'd also like to mention that not only have I never met him, I don't even know his full name - which means I'm also assuming the person I'm writing to is a he).  Danielle gave me some pointers, but I still wonder about the adequacy of my letter, although I'm sure any notes from home are much appreciated.

While I'm aware that I've romanticized much of (OK, all of) this situation, there is a part of me that hopes he writes back.  I mean, with songs out there like the Dixie Chicks' Traveling Soldier, and John Michael Montgomery's Letters from Home, what woman in their right mind could help but romanticize.  All morning I've thought about the person I've been writing to, wondering about him, and felt a bit like a WWII woman, working to keep our service men's moral high.  At the very least, I'll have a new friend and pen pal out of the deal.

I have also decided today to spend at least one day a week writing letters to people I love, local or not.  Who knows, maybe I'll be struck to do more than one a week.  I'll keep you posted...
Old postage stamp from USA 6 cent

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