With Valentine's Day coming up quickly, a moment of silence, please, for that very special something we seem to have lost in this, the era of instant text messaging.
I am talking about the romance of communication.
Yes, while our 4G phones might be smart as all get out, able to whiz words from me to you at the speed of light, nothing says "I Love You" more sincerely, more romantically, than a handwritten love letter, sealed with a kiss (S.W.A.K. as we used to write on the back of the envelope) and -- if you can afford a stamp -- delivered by the United States Postal Service.
I know, I know. Nobody is going to be getting any kind of letter via the USPS on Saturdays here pretty soon, but that still leaves five other days of the week on which to write that special someone in your life a letter telling them how much they mean to you.
Sure, you could just as easily send an E-Card, or text "i luv u" this Valentine's Day (which is Thursday, by the way...plenty of time to write a letter and drop it in the mail so it arrives on time), or have the local florist deliver a lovely bouquet of flowers to your love interest/significant other/spouse to their home or office desk.
But if you really care enough to send the very best, why not dig out one of those old-fashioned writing utensils -- aka, a pen -- and etch your love on paper?
Sadly, like telephone operators assisting the love lorn in placing passionate phone calls to the objects of their affection, handwritten love letters also seem to have gone the way of the dinosaur.
I suppose the argument is, compared to shooting off a quick text, it takes too long to write, too much money to send (really, 46 cents is too much to spend on the person who makes your heart beat like a bongo drum?) and too long for the person to receive (a couple of days).
But for those of us who remember having pen pals or getting letters from our parents while we were at summer camp, the anticipation, the waiting for a letter to be delivered from across the miles, was half the fun and excitement of it all.
And no, desire-infused computer-keyboard typed emails do not count.
I mean, I suppose you can print out such emails and tuck them in an old shoebox in your closet for posterity. But trust me, there is just something so endearing about happening upon a box of old, handwritten love letters...on engraved stationery, no less...
In fact, I have dozens of love letters written between my mom and dad during their courtship (some long, some short). And since they are both gone, and have been gone such a long time, it is fun, albeit bittersweet, to read the letters as I can still hear their voices with each sentence.
March, 24, 1947
Well, Hon -- here's the second attempt -- had one letter all written -- & have carried it around in my purse ever since! I have good musical accompaniment to this -- they're playing "If I Loved You". I do! I will! YES!
All my love, Jeanne
April 30, 1947
Here it is Wednesday already and high time I drop you a line I think.
But never fear, darling, you are still upper most with me at all times, whether i am punctual in writing or not. I do! I will! YES!
I also have my own collection of love letters -- and a few love poems -- from old high school boyfriends, and every time I unearth them while digging through stuff in the attic, I can never bring myself to throw them away.
First of all, I am a Scorpio, and we Scorps never throw mementos away.
And second of all, it is nostalgically entertaining, and certainly perspective-inducing, to read the old love letters now and again. For instance, if I was so loved back in high school, why did it take me six tries before I could snag a guy to take to the Girls Athletic Association formal my sophomore year?
I also saved practically every handwritten and double-secret folded "illegal" note passed to me by my friend, Linda, in high school (ah, note passing -- something else gone by the wayside since the proliferation of cell phone-carrying students).
And I always laugh out loud - for real -- at my friend Helen's scribbled kudos, in celebration of the news that I finally switched from sanitary napkins to Tampons, and could finally (as we were taught by our PE teachers back then) enjoy swimming and horseback riding during "that time of the month".
But my all-time favorite written-in-cursive note is from my dad on the occasion of my first grounding. I was not quite 14 years old:
What in the world will our children, and our children's children, have stashed away in old shoe boxes for posterity and reflection when they are old and gray? Outdated cell phones with locked text messages?
OMG LMAO luv u
Ack. I shudder to think. Besides, by then they may have forgotten what all the text lingo even meant.
And it's not just the receiving or anticipating the receiving of a handwritten letter -- love or otherwise -- that is lost when we and our children text, Facebook and Twitter our way through our daily lives. The all-important process of handwriting a letter -- the human touch, the heart and soul that flows from one's fingertips -- is lost as well.
C'mon, let's face it. We cannot seal a text message or a Facebook IM or a Tweet with a smooch.
And spam filters will never take the place of a letter stamped "Return To Sender" (not that the USPS even does that anymore...or do they? Anyway, you know what I mean.)
So this Valentine's Day, put a little love not only in your heart, but in the mailbox.
Step away from your smart phone, or your computer -- after you've read my blog, of course, lol, ;) -- and sit yourself down and write that special someone a letter. Encourage your kids to do the same. S.W.A.K. it and mail the darn thing tomorrow.
Not only will it will make it there by Valentine's Day, it will make their Valentine's Day!
I Love You!