ALL ABOARD | I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter


How did your day start today?

My today started with a little more than caffeine.

It began with a startling experience at the Freeland Post Office.

It was actually more of a shock, but a good one, not an electrical one.

We got a letter.

I say “we” because the letter was addressed to all of my personalities.

When is the last time you got a real letter?

No, not an e-mail or a bulk-mail, but a first-class, stamped personal letter.

With a real stamp on it, not a Pitney-Bowes machine pre-paid postage mark.

When is the last time you wrote a letter?

No, not a Christmas card or a birthday card, but a letter, with paragraphs and punctuation and penmanship all mixed together.

It has been a while for me too, but today I got a real letter.

Four pages! Handwritten! A letter from our long-time bank officer, caterer and counselor companion, Petite.

She even wrote it while sitting in a moving truck.

When I was a kid, letter writing was a chore.

Back then, writing a letter was all about thank-you notes or mandatory musings to the grandparents.

Handwriting letters was work.

Naturally, I preferred printing, not that handwritten, cursive stuff.

I had had much more experience with printing, plus printing looked like the books I read.

Who ever read a book in cursive?

Nonetheless, that forced adolescent writing that Mom encouraged successfully is the very reason I was thrilled today in receiving Petite’s missive.

I know how much time it took.

When you’re a kid, you’re in a hurry to get on to the next thing, not the next letter.

Yet, once I got a bit older,

I was writing letters to cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents just because

I wanted to.

Moreover, Mom was springing for the postage!

Today’s received letter reminded me why I don’t text or Twitter.

I have apparently outgrown the fast-food generation.

I am no longer in a hurry.

Let us visit, not mingle.

Give me a dialogue, not half a sentence.

Subcutaneous Q and A is no longer adequate.

Give me fathoms of depth-charged conversation.

Give me a letter with a four-page monologue that

I can touch and enjoy while reading at slow speed, and then re-read while smiling, holding the shared efforts of a friend.

Unlike e-mail and bulk mail, I do not delete personal letters.

Never have. Never will.

I save letters to enjoy again and again.

I still have Grandpa Freeman’s 1965 letter advising me that I needed to be me, not try to be him.

I still have Mom’s last letter to me.

No wonder.

Dad saved Grandma Freeman’s last letter to him.

Sentimental or in our genes?


In a hurry?

Not any more.

Like the song says, “I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter, and I’m gonna make believe it came from you.”

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