The Art & Treasure of the Handwritten Word

I don’t know when it started, but it has continued. My love for writing and receiving letters runs long and deep. For me there is something about a handwritten note, card or letter that speaks volumes more than just the words on the page.

This does seems a bit ironic as I’m expressing myself electronically.

Today I found a bag of treasures as I inadvertently picked up a small bag in our outbuilding.

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The trip to the outbuilding may be the topic of another post. It involved a dog and a bunny and it have to will wait for another day. Perhaps I will have a better outlook on that event by then.

I recognized the small bag as one from a time gone by and a land across the sea. I knew there would be good stuff inside. As I went through the items I found rail schedules, a ticket to the choir concert I had participated in while at Friedrich-Alexander Universistät in Erlangen, receipts and newspaper clippings, in English and in German. There were legal documents from the bank and University in Erlangen.There were letters from family and friends with postage from the US, UK, Germany and what was then Czechoslovakia. As I made a pile to separate the personal correspondence from the other items, I was struck by the value of the written words. Words shared from a variety of people who have played a role in my life. Words from people who took the time to share with me. Written words do take time.

One of the pieces of correspondence was from a friend announcing the birth of her daughter, Sarah Dawn. As I opened that announcement these 29 years later, I thanked God for her life and for the woman she is today. I thanked God for her entire family.

I smiled over a postcard from a friend who signed it “Peabody.”  I had forgotten our signatures of Peabody and Sherman all those years ago. It was a German class at UNL that first connected us, but it has been deep bonds that go beyond description that have kept us connected.

There was also a postcard from a lifelong friend who was welcoming me back to Europe even though she was stateside. Her postcard mentioned potential plans of return to England.  Someday, perhaps we’ll be across the pond at the same time.

One of the most valued pieces was from my grandmother.mail2 I have many memories of writing and receiving letters from both of my grandmothers. It was wonderful to see her beautiful penmanship on the small envelope addressed to me. I smiled as I saw the US flag sticker she put on the outside of the envelope. The letter was not long, but it was written to me. She had set time aside to write to me. There is power in that! Written words take time, effort, intent. I plan on showing my mother and other family members this brief letter as I think they’ll enjoy hearing her voice again, through her written words. Everything in the letter was classic Grandma. She wrote of the Nebraska election where she had just voted. She was pleased with how everything had turned out and joked that she just voted for the best looking candidate. You can be assured that even in her advanced years, she was a well informed voter! 🙂

Today, I have a bag near me that is not falling apart due to age and due to being left in the outbuilding.  It is a bag filling with notes and cards that I have received in the past 7-8 weeks.  Some of the same people I received mail from 29 years ago while studying in Germany have contributed to this new bag of written words. I’m trying not to be a collector or hoarder, but I decided to hang on to these pieces for awhile and I’m glad I have.  On occasion, I have pulled a few cards out and reread them to find that I am encouraged once more. The thought that someone has taken the time to pick out a card or piece of stationary (yes, it still exists) and share a moment with me is meaningful. It was 29 years ago and it still is today.

I’m not opposed to electronic communication, but I’m a strong proponent of handwritten communication. There is a connection for me to my past and the letters that I sent all over the world. My heart to see the world stems from letters sent to and received from missionaries in the Philippines and in India. My connection with grandparents deepened as they responded to letters sent across the state of Nebraska and to Wisconsin.

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Please note, I’m not hinting for more cards to be sent to me. I’m relishing in the treasure of the written word, the literal handwritten word that was meant for me. I applaud all who are keeping the art alive!

One thought on “The Art & Treasure of the Handwritten Word

  1. Hand written words certainly are treasures. My mom kept all the letters my father sent to his mother during WW11 when he was stationed in England and Germany. Although we parted with most of his belongings after he died, we kept those hand written letters. It’s amazing how a plain, inexpensive piece of paper, filled with words inked by a special person in your life, can have such a lasting meaning. Thanks for another great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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