The art of personal letter writing …

is gone.  Today, when we receive a letter, it’s usually a reminder of an unpaid bill, a request for a donation, an advertisement or a legal document. Rarely do we receive personal letters; letters that ask you how you’re feeling, tell you what’s going on in the neighborhood, remind you of blue skies, pine trees, children laughing, dogs barking, and a world that’s alive and kicking and changing, even as we breathe our first and last breath.

Everyone needs a smile. It’s nice to receive a greeting card when we’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion. But nothing brings a smile to your face faster than a personal letter; a letter with a handwritten address directed especially to you from a loved one or friend. As a child, I can still see the smile on my mother’s face as she tore open the envelope to read a letter from her brother in Europe.

Letters from Irene  provides a service that has almost gone with the wind — just like the title of the movie back in 1939.  Before computers the only means of sending written communication was the telephone, telegram, or “snail mail.”  Technology has changed the way in which we hear from each other — through computers — short emails, inane Facebook chatter, Twitter, blogs, and web sites.

But what about those people who don’t have computers; who hate computers; who don’t know how to use one, don’t want to use one, are intimidated by them, can’t afford one, are not permitted to have one?  What about them? What about the neighbor down the street who’s widowed, whose children have forgotten her? When is the last time you didn’t write to a relative or friend because you couldn’t find the time?  When did you last say you’d keep in touch with a buddy in the service or prison? When did your Mom or Dad in an assisted living facility get a letter from you?

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