Oops50: Do People Still Write Love Letters?

Annice

Over the holiday I was in NY and DC visiting family and spending time with grandchildren and nephews aged 6-14.  All of them, (except the six year old, he’s only playing games on the iPhone) are using the iPhone to text, telephone, play games, and take photos.  The kids, like their parents, were constantly looking at their phones in restaurants, the cinema, crossing the street, at breakfast, and basically everywhere.

That scene was played out again at the Atlanta airport while I was having lunch waiting for a connection to Asheville.  I sat next to a mother and daughter who were constantly looking at their phones in between bites of burgers and fries and only occasionally did they look up to talk to one another.

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After lunch, I headed to the waiting area to read my book – a real paperback book. Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks, carried me back to a small English village ravaged by the Plague in 1666.  The contrast between the story of how people experienced one another back then, and how we experience each other now made think about love letters.  Are baby boomers the last generation to write love letters? D0 young people still write them?  Do they text them?  Don’t those texts vanish?  I wonder how people will document their life if it’s all digital?  In the clouds?

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As for me, I have tons of real letters written on various textures and colors of stationary with stamps from foreign countries on the envelopes.  When I studied abroad in the 70’s and  80’s before computers and iPhones and Skype, I remember waiting anxiously for the mail every day hoping for letters from my parents, family and friends.  And, of course, nothing was sweeter than the love letters I carefully unfolded night after night as I re-read them for confirmation and comfort.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my iPhone, but I love the act of sifting through my life looking and touching all the letters and photos.  So, I ask, do people still write Love Letters? And if they do, what’s the format?

7 thoughts on “Oops50: Do People Still Write Love Letters?

  1. A
    Modem down for awhile. Great read. I’ve got a gift bag with love letters right by the side of my bed I go through every once and again, and a big box taped shut up on a shelf I want to sift through again soon. My mom tossed my box of childhood notes passed back and forth in class. I love this stuff. interesting the results of this gal’s googling the concept and her age! Love you and miss you.

  2. Annice, it’s funny. I stumbled across this article while searching for addresses for people to send love letters to. Last night, I was reading old letters that had been written to me when I was younger. The last letter I received in the mail that wasn’t a bill or a college application request or a bank statement was 6 years ago, when I was 12 years old. I began wondering why people don’t do that anymore. Send letters. And then I began wondering how many people in the world had actually received a hand-written love letter, smelling of the person who wrote it, gently crinkled by the mailing system. So I attacked all of my social networking sites with pleas for addresses to send love letters to. In less than 12 hours, I have received 14 love letter requests, and I have written love letters to all of them, which will be in the post tomorrow.
    If anyone wants a love letter sent to them, they can email me their preferred name and address at: mylifeinheartbeats@gmail.com
    Thank you for this lovely article.

  3. Jane and Sadhvi,

    I guess our parents had the same issues when they migrated from radio to TV and telephones became the norm. Change it is, but I still love sifting through my old mail an photos.

  4. I love getting letters in the mail, and that was my connection with friend’s and family before 1993 and the start of email. I don’t write as often as I used to, but when I do, I know it’s going to be special. The pictures of my youth on faded Kodak film and Poloroid’s also might be a thing of the past, since these photos that are constantly being taken on iPhones, etc. and end up on FB, and that BELONG to FB, are they being printed out? No. The new world. Interesting, or not?

  5. Annice, I was just reading a wonderful article by Nora Ephron where she talked about a friend who, at the time of his impending death, re-read all the love letters he had stashed away–and then mailed them back to the women who had sent them to him, with nice notes, thanking them. Reading that article made me think about what you wrote about here: will our kids have any letters to read and re-read in their old age? Thanks for writing this! Jane

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