I have three boxes in my book shelf and they are all filled to the top with letters that I have been collecting for over 10 years now. Last weekend, I took them all out and read every single one of them. I could see by the way the letters were written how I got older; grew up. 8-year old Anna didn’t get the same letters as 14-year old Anna got. Handwritings got neater, spelling mistakes fewer, the sentences more elaborate. I used to get a lot of cards with horses on them, lately most of them show some sort of cake. Sadly, I also noticed that I got fewer letters during the past few years as I did when I was still a child. The internet and mobile phones happened, I guess. There are still Birthday cards and post cards from all over the world but there are hardly any proper letters. While that makes me a little sad, it is not like I have been busy writing letters lately. And, like my mum always used to say: “If you want to receive a lot of mail, you have to write a lot.” You could also do a lot of online shopping, I guess but bills can hardly be described as the kind of letter you want to find in your mail box.
I have now transferred all my letters from the three boxes to one massive one where there is still room for more. But before I put them away for another couple of years, I wrote down some stuff, counted some, took some pictures. And because I can get quite nostalgic some times, I’m capturing it all on this little site of mine.
On top of the list of letters are definitely postcards. I counted 95 from 20 different countries, including Thailand, Argentina and Canada. Looks like I’ve got some well-travelled friends!
Some have hardly anything written on them, others talk more about other random things rather than the place that person went to. Then there’s one with so much writing on it, you almost need a magnifying glass to read it.
Next on the letter chart are Birthday cards with a good 50 of them. And again, as I got older the cards changed. It’s funny now, that I’m 19, to read phrases like “you only turn 12 once!” or “finally 14!”. I’m guessing I will say the exact same things in 10 years from now.
Next, we have letters from my mum. A total of 28 from which almost 25 were sent during 6 months. That’s what you call dedication. I received them while I was abroad during my gap year, three months in Oxford and later three months in London. Some of them are postcards from holidays (she and my sister sent one every day when they went on a cruise in the Mediterranean sea) and some are just cute little notes to say hi or to tell me that the cat was currently sleeping on my bed at home. These random letters are probably my favourites, a) because the cards are always adorable and b) because it’s such a comforting feeling to know that someone is thinking of you when you are away.
There are also quite a lot of funny ones, like the post card with two naked ladies running towards Big Ben. A friend sent me that when he went to London, only that he didn’t send it to my address but to the school which was pretty hilarious. He said he’d forgotten my address but did send me a second – normal – card home. He must have remembered at that point 😛
There are a couple of inside jokes as well, like the one that starts with “Hello Barbara!”. Or this classic one:
I also have 16 Christmas cards, two “Thank you for feeding our rabbits”- and one “Thank you for feeding our goats”-cards. There’s one “Good Luck” card, one love letter and three letters from people who I have absolutely no idea who they are.
I have four invitations, one of them being an invitation for a Disney-themed dinner party. Needless to say, it was a great evening. I was dressed up as Jasmine from Aladdin.
There even was a Menu. It’s one of my favourites from the whole bunch.
I have a letter a friend sent me when I was staying in France for three weeks because school made us go and where I had a pretty awful time. So she sent me a sweet letter, the music sheet for “Imagine” and a hand-written recipe for lime muffins. An email would never have been the same.
I could go on forever about this.
Looking through all these letters and going down memory lane really made me want to write more letters, something I am now determined to do. Because writing letters means receiving letters, which again means collecting more memories of people.
When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone?