Deliver De Letter De Sooner De Better

Send me a postcard, drop me a line, stating point of view, Indicate precisely what you mean to say, Yours sincerely wasting away…


Even before I fell in love with the Beatles and their incredible lyrics, I wrote letters.   I wrote letters because I received letters. It was the only way to communicate other than telephone and telegram.  My Grandmother and her twin sister sent me letters on a regular basis.  They were handwritten  on pastel colored stationery with matching envelopes. Grandma and Aunt Martha’s handwriting styles were surprisingly similar as were their messages.  They would tell me what they had done that day; things like picking flowers, what they cooked for lunch, what funny antics their kittens were up to.  Sometimes they would tell me about something that happened to the neighbors or they would talk about the weather.  Sometimes I would open the envelope and a four-leaf clover would spill out or maybe a small pressed flower.  Sometimes a stick of gum would be carefully folded into the letter.

Grandma and Aunt Martha would always ask me questions.  What have you been doing?  What are you learning about in school?  What new song have you learned at your piano lesson?  When do you think you will come for a visit?  Really important questions that required an answer.  It would have been impolite to not acknowledge and respond to a letter.  So I learned to be a letter writer as well.

I wrote letters to my cousin, who lived a couple of hours away.  She always answered me.  In junior high school,  several close girlfriends and I  would write long letters to each other in study hall and pass them down the row to each other.  One friend and I created alter-egos and wrote letters to each other as Herman and Gretel.  It was fun, we were being creative, and it was more enjoyable than memorizing the Presidents of the United States and the years they were in office.  In high school, I wrote to a friend who had moved to Chicago to live with her sister while finishing high school.    For awhile, I had a pen pal from the Virgin Islands that I had signed up for in an English class.  In college, my fiance (now my husband)  and I wrote letters to each other, especially when he was in basic training far away.  I once wrote him a letter on a roll of toilet paper.  I didn’t use the entire roll, but it was pretty lengthy.  As I recall I recruited my roommate and other hallmates to add a few lines to make it longer.  If I had known how much my future husband hated to write, I would have known a lot sooner that it was true love.  Most of my college-years letters were written by hand, but a few were typed.  On a typewriter.  Yeah.  And during the 60’s sealing wax became popular again.    We all carefully sealed our letters with wax and a small metal seal with our initial.


I continued to write letters to people who were important to me.  As a second grade teacher, I signed up for classroom pen pals through a Weekly Reader pen pal program. We met a great class from California and shared stories about our lives at school and at home.  I hope some of those students remember their pen pals and continue to write letters as well.

And then came the arrival of email.  It has certainly changed the way we communicate.  And led to even faster ways of communicating.  I can remember as a student, hearing a teacher tell us that someday we would be able to call each other on the telephone and see each other as well.  We were amazed  and often dreamed of the futuristic ideas.

sealing wax

I still have a pen pal.  We have written to each other for over ten years.  She and her family came to visit me a few years ago and this summer we met at the Grand Canyon.  She has several pen pals from various countries.  We still write real letters but for the most part, we email each other.  I must admit, I am thankful for email in communicating with my youngest child who is thousands of miles away.  And even though I once said “I will never text message anyone, ”  I finally broke down.  It was the best way to communicate with my granddaughter and now my grandson.

I still try to write letters to far away friends.  I use a word processor to create my letters now since my arthritis makes my handwriting difficult to read and painful as well.  Email is wonderful.  I would hate to live without it.  But there is something special about a handwritten or even typed letter.  You know the person who sent you the letter really cares about you because they took the time to write their thoughts for you.  I felt my grandmother and my aunt’s love those many years ago, from the letters they sent me.




About Life in the 50's and beyond...

Welcome to Life in the 50's and 60's and beyond .... where I write about my childhood memories, music of the 60's and about life in the country. I am a mother, grandmother, farmer's wife, business owner, and retired teacher.
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17 Responses to Deliver De Letter De Sooner De Better

  1. Val says:

    What an enjoyable post! I miss receiving handwritten letters, and I used to write them myself – so many pages, I’ve no idea now what I found to write about! But these days, as soon as I put pen to paper, my mind goes blank so I’m no longer a good penfriend – I certainly used to be, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I miss real letters. I had several pen pals when I was young, but lost track of them as we became adults and ‘moved on’. When my parents retired and moved a mere 120 miles away, I took to writing weekly letters to my mother (in addition to our Sunday phone calls) to keep her abreast of activities, and I used to make my boys write lengthy thank yous to their grandmothers for gifts received and visits undertaken (my mother gave me a box filled with them when she moved in with my brother; I’m going to scrapbook them for the boys as a ‘reminder’ of days gone by). Email has its place (so, I almost hate to admit, does Facebook) for keeping in touch on an ‘instantaneous’ basis (and with pictures) but nothing – NOTHING – can replace the thrill of finding a handwritten letter or card (goodness, I miss Christmas cards, too – so few people send them anymore) in your mailbox. That so few young people can even write a letter (they print awkwardly and can barely construct a decent sentence) makes me very sad. I have vowed to teach my granddaughter the joy of putting pen to paper and creating magic with words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have boxes of letters that my Dad wrote while he was in the Coast Guard in 1941-1943. His mother had saved them and then his sister. When she passed a couple of years ago, they were given to my brother and me. What a treasure and what a great piece of family history. The one I love the most is a letter from my Dad to his parents and little brother announcing that he and my mom had gotten married that day. I am going to have to write about that one.


      • After my Mom passed, I discovered a box of letters my Dad had written to her when they were ‘courting’ (what a lovely word) back in 1936 (they married in ’39). In one, he specifically told her to destroy the letters, but I’m to glad she didn’t. I’ve read them many times and, while not exactly ‘romantic’ (that wasn’t Dad’s style), they’ve really opened my eyes to who my parents were before they were my parents. Email isn’t at all ‘permanent’ that way (which is why I’m slowly writing my ‘memoirs’ …)


  3. cursive writing is being taken out of schools as we speak…what a shame…an art in itself!


  4. Thom Hickey says:

    Nothing beats the personal touch of pen on paper! You might enjoy the latest immortal jukebox post which features please Mr postman. Regards Thom

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Its never too late. But it certainly takes a lot more effort than it used to. I just keep thinking, my grandchildren will not be able to recognize my handwritingl


  6. MissLarisha says:

    Thank you for writing that beautiful post. The art of writing has been lost as technology takes over our lives. I love to write, however, as I live with my best friend and have no one to write to, I keep a journal to continue writing and I hope one day to give it to my children and hopefully grand children as some form of representation of the life I lived.
    I imagine what you did as wondrous and hope to one day have a story as delightful to tell. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wish I had journaled when I was younger. I kept a journal during my senior year of high school and when I turned 18 I had a ceremony and burned it. I would give anything to get it back. Don’t know what I was thinking except it was filled with high school drama events and I think I didn’t want any written account of the things we did! lol

      Liked by 1 person

  7. We have so much in common. This year my resolution was to write 52 handwritten letters. I’m behind on my goal, but I’m trying. And I still have a penpal.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ruth2Day says:

    I can’t remember when I last wrote a page of text, let alone a letter!


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