We have officially begun a new year and left last year behind.
Before the calendar flipped to 2018, I thought about something else which is just about a thing of the past.
I had an interesting conversation a few days ago about letters and what it means (or once meant) to get one.
It was nice to find out I am not the only one flummoxed by the fact cursive seems to be on its way out.
I learned cursive in the third grade, I think.
I had two teachers in the third grade, because a bunch of us switched rooms in the middle of the year to even the number of students in the classes or something.
One of my teachers was a lady named Margaret. We called her by her last name, of course, but I remember her first name because Margaret is also my Mamaw’s name.
Mamaw sends me birthday cards and Christmas cards every year.
She usually adds a note, and her notes are in cursive so I’m pretty glad I can read it.
Her aunt, who lived past 100, wrote long letters on little sheets of paper and sent them to Mamaw just to let her know how things were.
She always wrote in cursive so small some people needed a magnifying glass to read it, but her handwriting just flowed. It was pretty.
My daddy’s parents met through letters. Nana sent Pawpaw a letter, with a picture, while he was in Korea. He wrote her letters from war.
When I talked to Pawpaw about his time in the Army, he cried when he told me how special it was to get Nana’s letters.
They sent mail until he came home, found her and married her. They stayed together 63 years until the day he died.
I’ve always thought theirs was a good story.
I’ve been blessed to be around a lot of love stories which have lasted, and theirs always seemed like something out of a movie.
Maybe it’s the writer in me, but there’s just something about being able to sit down and pour out your heart onto a piece of paper.
It’s raw, and it’s real.
I’ve written letters before, but I don’t write them often.
I think I’ve written two in the last two years. One was delivered. I’ll probably never send the other one, but I was honest and real in both of them.
It makes me sad to think about how unreal things, and people, seem sometimes.
It makes me sad to think about how unreal I’ve been in the past.
Technology has made it easier for us to hide behind the fakery of Facebook profiles and Twitter handles.
It’s made it easier to show only the best of ourselves in hopes of popularity or respect or Lord knows what.
It’s made a lot of interactions little more than text bubbles and typed words on a screen.
Letters are a little different.
I found an old one I got from a friend, and I knew exactly who it was from after the first word. I knew because I remember what her writing looks like.
I don’t remember when I got her letter, but it made me think about her.
I wrote a letter once a long time ago when I knew I had to let go of something I wanted, but would never have.
I put on a brave face. I purposely picked words I thought made me sound strong and noble.
I tried to write without a hint of heartache.
I hardly ever cry.
I’m pretty sure the last time I cried was when Pawpaw died three and a half years ago.
I’m just not a crier, but I remember when I signed my name on that letter a teardrop hit the paper right below it.
I guess I could have wadded it up and started over, but I had an interview about five minutes later. There was nothing I could do about it except hope it was invisible by the time the letter got where it was going and somebody opened it.
It’s hard to fake your way out of a tear-stained page, no matter how many flowery words are on it.
Technology has it’s advantages, don’t get me wrong.
Maybe I’m not quite used to a world where you can pay for something with your face, but my nieces might not remember who I am if it weren’t for FaceTime so I’m really thankful for it.
I use this blog as a way to look back and see where I’ve been at different times in my life.
I haven’t written much since I left the newspaper. I just haven’t felt like it. I haven’t had much to say.
Last year had its ups — like a trip to Mount Rushmore, the Great Lakes and a bunch of other places — and downs.
I’m sure this one will, too, but I have high hopes for it.
I hope you have a happy new year.
I hope I write a few more letters.