In the past two weeks I have seen two television stories about handwriting and read one beautiful obituary that might as well have been handwritten, though instead typed and published in the newspaper.
It got me thinking about how often I write. In my job I sit at a computer for several hours a day. I occasionally hand write notes, but for the most part — like I am now — I type out what I am thinking on a keyboard and the words appear on the screen in front of me.
I was raised differently than this. It wasn’t until junior high that I started to use a computer. Until that point I had done my research in books and hand wrote my reports. I also hand wrote letters to my friends and family.
When friends would go away to summer camp we would exchange letters nearly daily. I would often get notes at my home in New Hampshire from my grandmother who lived in California; and she would always expect a response. I would oblige, writing her a note of thanks, or updating her on what was happening in school.
But soon after the introduction of the computer in junior high — and likely the onset of my teenage years — those notes fell by the wayside. Sure at Christmas or my birthday I would hand write thank you notes for the gifts I received. But otherwise I would resort to email.
That is true to this day. It’s much easier to type a couple of quick sentences and hit ‘send’ than get stationery, write out a note, find a stamp and then either a mailbox or post office. (The US Postal Service knows this all-to-well.)
But getting a hand written note in the mail is something I cherish. In fact, I hold on to nearly every one of them. Yes, I recognize that this may be called hoarding.
I have saved thank you notes for birthday gifts, bridal parties, and baby showers. I have notes from friends and family from when I was in college, sending me notes of encouragement and updating me on what was going on elsewhere. I have notes from loved ones who wanted to say hi just because or share exciting news.
I can tell you who wrote every note in my collection just by looking at the handwriting. And though many notes are not dated, I can tell you what was happening in our lives when the note was received.
Some of the notes stand out more than others. There are the ones from my grandmother’s sister who has always handwritten notes. Her handwriting and my grandmother’s handwriting is very similar, just as mine is similar to my mother’s.
Speaking of my mother, there are the handmade cards that she has made for several years for what seems like any occasion. Just to say hi. To wish us a happy anniversary. To thank us for a Christmas gift. Or to tell us where to find the ice cream.
I recognize that I don’t send these types of notes enough. I always promise to get better, but like with so much else I always “run out of time.”
I know I could throw these out, as my collection is getting quite large. But I know how much I like reading my relatives’ notes from years past, and I hope that someday someone will get as much joy from reading these as I do.
Besides, who can throw out a note like this and not think twice?
How often do you hand write notes? Do you ever do it ‘just because’?