By Shirley Hailstock
During this time, when so many of us are home, we've done some things we'd put off because there wasn't time to do it. The other day I was working on my book and my daughter and finished her school day. The mail arrived and she asked to go and get it from the box at the curb. I absently said it was all right. So, she ran down the driveway and came back with the letters and flyers (such as they are) and put handed them to me. (Then we washed our hands.)
I realized how often she seems so happy when the mail arrives. I know the feeling. As a third-grader, I used to write letters to my father. We were in D.C. and he'd gone to Buffalo, NY to look for work. While he was there, I'd write to him and I looked forward to receiving his responses when they came. I wished I'd save those letters. I remember telling him about my day, what happened at school, what I'd learned.
In college, I was a member of ROTC (Reserved Officers Training Corps). It was a great way to meet guys. When they went off to summer camp (military camp), I'd write to them. I wrote a letter every day. The letters I got back I did keep.
The same with letters from friends in Vietnam. I had a pen pal in England that I wrote to from my Freshman year in high school until college. As a writer, I joined a group of women who wrote poems and stories and we sent them to each other for reading and critiquing.
I treasured those letters, loved when they appeared in my mailbox. Even now, in the age of e-mail, I love seeing an actual letter. I've seen my daughter's face light up when a letter comes with her name on it. It's generally an invitation to a party or a thank you note for attending one. She keeps them until they become tattered and unreadable.
Even though my days are still full of writing on my computer, cooking meals I wouldn't ordinarily have time to do, and home-schooling, I think of the lost art letter writing. I suggested we write some letters to her friends and coaches (one whose tested positive for the coronavirus), hoping they will return with a letter addressed to her.
Small gestures can result in great happiness (and I didn't get that from a fortune cookie).
Write a letter to someone. Use a pen and paper. Make their day.
As always, keep reading. . .