Signed, Sealed, Delivered

In this technology-intense era, we can send an email around the globe in a nanosecond with the mere push of a button.

I don’t receive handwritten letters often, so when I do, they’re extra special. During my sabbatical, I received physical correspondence from a few people. One package winged its way across the pond from Wales!

People sent mail to my Boise address and then Len brought it to me when he visited Darby. It was so much fun!

When was the last time you sent or received a handwritten letter?


71 thoughts on “Signed, Sealed, Delivered

  1. Do birthday cards count? I have a large family in Spain, so I always send them birthday cards from England with some family news too. Last ones were sent in January to 2 of my sisters.

  2. My husband and I received a thank you card in the mail yesterday. I usually hand write and mail thank you cards. It is fun to receive cards, personal letters (not bills), and packages in the mail!

  3. Yesterday- a pretty card with a note even asking how my turtles were doing. Plus by the way I high fived an Easter Bunny on Sunday when I had brunch with my whole family. 🐰🐰🐰🐰🐰💚💜😘🐢🐦🐧

  4. Sent a card to someone at our local jail just last week. THAT is a place where snail mail is really valuable and appreciated because it is often the only way to communicate with someone on the outside.

  5. The instances of sending a correspondence via a penned latter are rare these days for the reasons you broach here in this telling post. But I actually DID send a written letter to a family member out west only a few months ago, feeling there was something far more personal to discuss. But your tagline brings something else to the table with a decidedly spirited slant:

  6. Thanks Laurie for highlighting the precious nature of the written note. On valentines day this year, one of my sisters sent a beautiful hand-made card with a hand-written note. That’s a “2-fer” I’d say. I also like to write my thank you notes. And, I love sending to and receiving letters from my 88-year-old aunt in Alberta, Canada. She does email, but her letters (even with her tiny handwriting) are gifts. I started saving them years ago. Some of her letters with answers to family questions have been invaluable to me as our major family genealogist (first-person cited evidence too). When my mom was alive, she copied and shared with us a letter our paternal grandmother wrote about her first meeting with my mom (so dear). I hope everyone has saved a few of those special letters. Those letters, along with pictures, bring family history alive. Although technically not hand-written, I also save those X-mas letters in a family sectioned binder (each in a protected sleeve), again for family history purposes.I know the minimalists may say too much. But, one of my nieces has already agreed to be the future keeper of all my family history binders. I will have a coda on my will to legalize that legacy.

    • One of my childhood friends recently published a book of letters between her parents in WWII, With All My Love (Mira Digital Publishing, August 2005). Her father died quite young, so this book was a beautiful way to share with all the 6 siblings and their children and grandchildren some insight into these two loving people. Her book was also a hit at an Irish history book fair.

    • Shirley — I don’t know if I’ll ever receive a handwritten thank you note from a grandchild (I’m not a grandma yet), but if the day ever comes, you can be absolutely positive that I’ll treasure it!

  7. I’ve not sent a hand-written or type-written letter in recent memory, however I do support the greeting card industry. When a birthday or other special occasion arrives, I want my loved ones to feel remembered and appreciated. I know that we all end up with shoe boxes full of old cards and bits of memories, a small thing until you try to measure the Love expressed.

  8. Handwritten letters are very special. I recently received three pages in hand writing, thanking me for writing my book with a review. It is something I will always treasure.

  9. The last snail mail letter I received came shortly after Christmas – a friend’s annual Christmas letter, which never arrives prior to the holiday. I haven’t written an actual letter in a very long time, but I do send birthday cards – usually handmade, so that earns me a point or two, right? Well, maybe half a point, because usually those cards are for local people and are hand-carried. People far away get e-cards. Sigh.

  10. As we sift through correspondence at Aunt Ruthie’s house, I find many hand-written notes often with pictures. I write birthday, sympathy, and get-well cards with short notes; I don’t write letters anymore.

    The letters and packages you received during your sabbatical are a tribute to friendships you have forged online. Impressive!

    • Marian — I don’t write honest-to-goodness letters anymore either, but I do hand write thank you and condolence notes.

      I know that you’re coming across lots of treasures at Aunt Ruthie’s house. I suspect some of it would make for a great book plot 🙂

  11. My daughter still sends me handwritten notes and packages in the mail. I love it. I send cards and notes to my mother and some of my friends. Getting something in the mail makes my heart sing! I am sure you cherished yours.

  12. I received a handwritten letter Laurie with money included with it just a week ago. But I have been thinking about this letter writing practice for a bit. The same friend who sent the handwritten letter I mentioned often does an email letter that reads like a handwritten letter. I have another friend who is a painter and we often write lengthy email missives on ideas and thoughts that are like more formal letters of the past. And my husband’s daughters have started writing an email letter every week or so that feels very much like “getting mail” in the inbox. They both have young children and their dad isn’t particularly good on the phone so these email letters have become a successful way of staying connected. I write this just in case it is useful to someone else – “a letter” possibly becomes a letter in its structural content and intention rather than its delivery method. At least, this is what I have been pondering lately.

  13. Don’t recollect when I wrote a letter last time. But I do share handwritten ‘Thank You!” once in a while 🙂

  14. I’m jumping up and down ‘It was me , it was me who sent the package from Wales ” well I think it was or you might have had another package from Wales ☺️
    Apart frim you Laurie , I sent a letter to a lovely blogger in Australia , Shannyn Steel is her name and her blog is ; ‘crescent moon ramblings ‘ really worth a read she’s good . She mentioned about never getting a hand written letter in a resent blog , so I suggested we did , hers was much better than mine , however , we made the effort and it was fun . It feels a little warmer and personal if you know what I mean . Did you ever have pen friends in the cave days Laurie ? 😁 I did , I had a girl from Austria but some how we lost touch ‘ as you do . Anyway I’m rambling …all good fun when all says and done .

    • Cherry — You’re right, it was YOU! I’ll definitely check out Shannyn Steel’s blog. And yes, I had a pen pal; it was a elementary school requirement back in the Dark Ages 🙂

  15. Thank you cards and Christmas letters – that’s what it’s down to for me. I’m stubbornly sticking with the Christmas letter even though many of my relatives and acquaintances have abandoned the practice.

  16. I have received a few cards, thank you notes, birthday wishes, and condolence cards… no letters. I have considered going through old notes and letters for blog post, I use to save all those… plus there are some letters of parents when they where dating… there are stories and memoir of some sort brewing…

  17. Hi.
    I don’t receive personal letters or postcards very often. Mostly at birthdays and a handful of other times each year.
    And the reverse is true (i.e. I don’t send many personal letters et al each year).

    My wife and I received a handwritten letter yesterday, though!

  18. I write at least one snail mail letter or card per week. I love to write letters. I will have to find a new person to correspond to as my Aunt in Canada just died and my mentor just died on Easter. They both loved my long missives in the mail. I too love Jacquie Lawson cards and I do a better job of sending cards on the correct day with her service in mind. And wow do I so love getting a nice letter in the mail (Not so much at Christmas time as they are just so over the top full of aren’t I and my family wonderful, which is good, but I would rather see their daily adventures on FB and celebrate at the time rather than just once a year. Overwhelmed) Just ordered a Dorothy Benton Frank Book after yours and Sandi’s recommendation. I am very sad this week after the death of my friends – I feel a bit alone and abandoned.

    • Patricia — I’m sorry for your loss. May the constant love of caring friends soften your sadness. May cherished memories bring you moments of comfort. May lasting peace surround your grieving heart.

  19. The last hand written letter I can recall writing was when I started courting Ailsa.
    I may have written some since, but I can’t think of any.

    I do almost all my writing on computer, and have done for a very long time (since 1981).

  20. It seems that the greeting card is the new stationary. Thing is, no matter how beautiful the card may be, I always search first for the handwritten postscript. Every time.

  21. Hello Laurie
    Serendipitous that you write of this now. I’ve been toying with a blog post about “the curse of the handwritten note.” While I like the idea of them and encourage such correspondence with my granddaughters (grandsons seem not so inclined) I am clear with what to do with their letters once I’ve read and reread them: I have a special drawer and in they go. But, I’ve received two handwritten thank you notes this past year from women friends and I’m still wondering what to do with them. I have no “drawer” for them. First, they were so lovely I felt an immediate desire to write a Thank You note in return. And secondly, I can’t seem to throw them away (even recycle). That feels harsh. What to do?? It’s a quandary.

    • Janet — I have a folder in the photo section of my laptop titled “letters.” After I photograph a handwritten letter, card, etc., the minimalist in me throws the physical document. Good, bad, or indifferent, that’s the way of it with me.

  22. Yesterday, I sent a sympathy card to a friend who’s mom just died, and a birthday card to another friend, and an anniversary card to a couple my guy and I have known for many years. I probably send out 5 cards a week. I love connecting with people this way. Some are ‘blank’ cards inside so I can just write a ‘hello, thinking of you.’ Oh, and I send out funny cards to my grandchildren who live far away. On some occasions I include a 5 dollar bill to each of them. I want them to learn to look forward to ‘regular’ mail. 🙂

  23. Hi Laurie!
    Just stopped by at your blog, and I can’t be happier that I discovered a blog that revives the old spirit, the one I longed for for eons literally. I’m fourteen and I’ve started blogging to say my thought out loud!
    About your post, Laurie, yes sadly, existing in this triumphantly advanced digitized contemporaniety, we Homo sapiens have stopped interacting with each other like those good old days, like I’ve heard my parents recalling the tales about how they used to send many dear ones letters smothered in all the sentiments of love and care! But now…. since everyone’s a phone call away…no-one bothers to take up a pen and transfer their thoughts on paper…..well, there can be a change… we can revive old traditions!
    ~MJ Xx

  24. Probably within the last several months. I’m old school and believe hand-written thank you notes are still proper etiquette even in the internet age. Can’t recall who I sent the last note to, but I send 3-4 per year depending on who “deserves” one.


  25. I was sending off the latest batch of Thank You post cards the other day, Laurie, when I remembered this blog post of yours. I have never written so many handwritten notes as I have in these past few months since I’ve been getting Jen Hofmann’s weekly action lists. In one section each week, she recognizes the people who have taken a stand for which we thank them. Usually, of late, they are Republicans who have broken with party lines. It’s another way of letting folks know we are watching them. This time in gratitude.

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