Friday, March 25, 2011

We Don't Write Anymore

Yesterday I was going through several boxes of old documents in my seemingly endless campaign to get organized. One box was from 2002, the year of conflict in the Sons of Confederate Veterans. I had a bunch of newspaper clippings, a couple of the SPLC's Intelligence Report magazine (Don't laugh, one had a good picture of me), a few letters, and a stack of e-mails that I had printed. The letters were a mixed group. A couple of nasty ones and a few thank you type letters. The e-mails were interesting. A mixture of hate mail, condemnation resolutions, and a scattering of nice messages.

Why did I print those messages and why do I keep them? Great question and it is the heart of my post this morning. I keep those messages so that on those days that I wonder what I have done in life, I can read them. Nothing beats holding a piece of paper in your hand and reading. I'm sorry, but sitting in front of the computer reading an e-mail or reading a text message on your phone does not compare to the visceral experience of holding a letter and reading it.

Nobody writes letters anymore, ask the Post Office. It's much easier to e-mail or text. the problem with those messages is here today, gone tomorrow. If in a few months, you are trying to remember an emotional moment, it's easier to have that piece of paper.

In my briefcase, I carry an assortment of papers that I consider dear to me. There are a few photographs, a few articles clipped from various publications, and some letters and notes that I have received. I think that one of the measures of our lives is the impact that we have on the lives of others, good or bad. Among the papers in my collection is a 25 year old Thank You letter from an employee who worked for me at Casa Gallardo from 1983 until I left there in early 1986. I have a note from our VP at Casa congratulating me on a new training program that I had started. I have a couple of e-mails that I have printed and a few other Thank You notes. I recently added a Thank You note from a customer to my collection. I don't think that I did anything spectacular, but it was a great note.

In my vast accumulation/collection of stuff, I have a large envelope of photographs and a few documents that I purchased at an estate auction. Estate sales are usually pretty sad. A lot of times there are no relatives left and everything is auctioned off to strangers. The packet that I have are photographs and documents from a guy's service in World War 2. In there is a telegram from 1944, so he kept it for a while. The telegram was from his wife to him in Europe. It read "Son Born. You are more than ever in my thoughts at this time. All our love." WOW! I would have kept that one too.

Today we send e-mails, texts, and for those times that electronic messages won't work, we buy a card. Hallmark has cards for almost all events, but I was told last week that there are a few not covered. The Thank You note that I received was a good card. Why is it in my briefcase?? Because the sender took the time to write a couple of paragraphs inside and that's what turned a good card into a great card. It made my day. If you were the sender, Thank You.

Remember love letters? Does anyone write those anymore? My personal feeling about this is that women tell men that they want us to be more romantic, but then ignore us when we try to do something romantic. There have been four women in my life in the last forty years to whom I have written what would qualify as a love letter. To say the response from each of those was minimal to non-existent would be an understatement. There's a great Valentine's Day and love letter story in there, but it will have to wait for another post.

Napoleon, another short guy with a short temper, was a prolific love letter writer. I have a couple of books that are love letter collections, he's in them. He wrote great stuff! Based on his letters, Josephine didn't respond any better than most women today. There is a relationship worth reading about.

So what's the point of all this?? Have you sent anything that a person might keep for the rest of their life? Give it a try. Write someone a letter, you will both feel better. If you are sending a card, take the time to personalize it. Just writing "Love You", "Miss You","Get Well", and other assorted banalities does not qualify.

What's it all mean for me? If I start believing in reincarnation and come back for a second life, I want to find that one woman who will read what I write and appreciate it enough to write back. We all have our dreams!


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