Written Replies – The First Results of my Letter Writing Experiments

When I started my (so far significantly lacking) attempt at Blog Every Day in August, I wrote about my love of letter writing. Over this last weekend, I’ve been seeing the full effect of my postal pastime, with results that have been both surprising and heart-warming.

I spent the weekend back home, spending time with family for my Poppy’s 80th birthday bash. I saw a whole stack of relatives, some of whom I haven’t seen in months.

Amongst the throng were a number of young cousins, to whom I have sent letters or postcards over the last few months. As I went around the room, I asked each of them if they had received the mail I had sent. To my surprise, my question often drew blank and confused looks: “No, I didn’t get a postcard?”

I was confused myself. “Maybe the postie hasn’t brought it yet?” I asked, even though I’d had confirmation from their mums and dads that their postal surprises had arrived. Then again, these kids ranged in age from three to ten, so I wasn’t about to hold a grudge.

But it did make me wonder: do kids not place any value on letters anymore? More importantly, was I as forgetful about the written correspondence from relatives when I was a child?

That second thought left me kind of confused. I can vividly remember receiving letters and birthday cards in the post from grandparents, and postcards from friends and relatives who had gone off globetrotting. I recall being incredibly excited about receiving letters in envelopes covered in pictures my Grandma had meticulously cut out of the various magazines she’d bought. I can even remember Mum telling me how grateful I should be, because Grandma’s arthritis made that crafty task incredibly difficult, so it really demonstrated just how much she loved my sister and I whenever she did so.

But did I write back? Did I at least make a phone call to thank the sender for their caring correspondence? Well, that I can’t remember. I wish I did – it would make me feel a lot better, but something tells me I didn’t. I was probably like my cousins are now: a bit forgetful.

What did surprise me was the number of people who confirmed that they are going to write back to me: three. I wasn’t expecting any! Instead, I got a confirmation from my cousin Gina and her mum that she had been working hard on a reply. Later on, when I was wandering around Sydney while waiting for a bus, I got a call from my mate Chris, who told me he was also working on writing back to me, as soon as he got a break from his insane schedule. While I was on the bus back to Canberra, I got a call from Tom, another friend, who promised me a typewritten letter.

I was so chuffed. So far, I’ve only had a response from my Aunt Joyanne and a letter from my Dad, who writes semi-regularly. It’s been nice to hear from them, but they’re from an era when letter-writing was more common; to hear from a bunch of Gen Y folks (and younger!) that they would have something to post to me in the coming weeks was incredibly thrilling, encouraging and heart-warming. I can’t wait to see them when the postie comes!

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