Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Are We Losing The Art of Written Communication?

What do you prize the most of an ancestor's that you never met?  For me, it is letters. It is like reaching across time and having a portion of their thoughts and their handwriting, which is a physical portion of them. Many I don't have pictures for, but I have little a bit of their personality.  For that reason, I treasure letters I have saved of aunts who wrote me when I first married.  Books written by two ancestors, Lemuel Roberts and William Bradford have been wonderful too.
What brought this to mind was some events that occured the last week with some grandchildren.  The oldest is always on the go, so I will text her and she can text me back later.  Hmmm... not a lasting communication and usually is generic conversation.  The next to the oldest, I called.  Conversation went like this... "Hi! How are you doing?"  "Good." (Now I have to start digging to get past good...)  Once again, not great communication nor lasting.
My sweet aunt never called, although there were telephones. This is an example of a letter from her.

My great great grandfather wrote a letter to his nephew that was saved and has been passed around to countless descendants.  It tells what he thought about, and what was happening with his family for us to read, savor, and glean information from. 
You notice he put the place and date at the heading. Forgotten art of letter writing? 

The Hero wrote a letter to his daughter when he arrived home after visiting with her. She still loves it now that he is gone.

After contemplating today's texty and techy world, I have decided I am going back to writing letters to my granchildren, especially those that live over a day's ride from me. I will start putting a special message in Christmas cards for family that I communicate with in my handwriting not a computer generated message.  
What do you think?
See you next month. 


  1. Sometimes I'll get some kind of card with a scribble of a message, but letters are rare. I don't text and I don't get many emails in the form of personal communication. Even phone calls have become more rare even though they don't cost anything other than the monthly phone bill. People are too busy doing I don't know what.

    One of the things I miss about getting letters is the stamps on the envelopes. I collect stamps and always save the ones off the mail I receive. Haven't added much to my collection over the past many years.

    Tossing It Out

  2. Arlee, I hear you. Today I received a letter from my daughter and granddaughters. My son said... "I never get letters". Yep I have a plan.:-)

  3. The only time I write much nowadays is at Christmas and sometimes it will just be a short paragraph or two inside a card.
    My son will still write things by hand and his grandfather bought him a very nice fountain pen for his 21st birthday.
    There has to be a limit to what we keep but I will always think twice about discarding any letters or cards.
    We still have family who send thank you notes.:-)

  4. Hilary, that is so great that you do that. Nice to hear some are still writing.

  5. No one can read my handwriting, barely my signature. Point taken however, Fran. Need to do more writing, real handwriting stuff. Now, will I? SIGH

  6. Carol, you are the best. :-)

  7. I have unsuccessfully prompted by daughter to send photos to her grandmother but she prefers to send text messages instead! We will have a gap in family history going forward!

    1. Sorry I meant letters........have photos on the mind!

  8. Sharon, for text messages you can save images of them, or transcribe.

    Yep, I have done both! And, glad I did!

  9. The answer to the question of your post has to be a definite "YES". I now only write personal letters to people not on e-mail and even then I type them (in an informal font on motif paper). My handwriting is dreadful and I suddenly realized one day at work that the only thing I hand wrote was my signature. This is all such a p/ity, as I know how much I value the penciled handwritten cards sent back by my grandfather from Flanders during the First World War , and the letters between my parents I found after their deaths , many dating from the time my father was serving in France & Germany duirng the war. I have kept letters form my husband, before we married and letters from my mother on the news of my pregnancy and then birth of our daughter. I suspect future generations will miss out on these pleasures that convey through their writing such an impression of our relations.


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