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Do you write letters on a regular basis? Is this an important habit to model for our children? How do we renew appreciation for letters?

What do you do in your family to encourage letter writing? Do you save letters, and if so, do you ever share and reread them? I would be interested in how others keep letter writing alive in the world.

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  • May 7 2013: I have a few random thoughts on the art of letter writing. When I was in Peace Corps a few years ago - in the middle of the South African bush, an hour's walk from my post office village (not even a shopping village!), I sent 1,004 pieces of mail (mostly to the States) and received nearly as many replies. (I did not have access to email, and even if I did, the instant gratification would have paled to the wonderful wait and anticipation of thoughtful, creatively designed replies. Everyone saved my letters and aerograms from my travels around Southern Africa. When I was in India, I tried sending some postcards and it took FORever, but soooo much more meaningful for the folks back home than email blogs. Observations based on teaching middle schoolers - they have no clue what it means to "address an envelope". They said they don't even receive snail mail thank you notes from their GRANDparents, just email letters. Last random thought: in 1990, I took a Smithsonian Resident Associates class at the National Postal Museum in D.C. on "The Art of Letter Writing". We were in the museum after it closed, touring behind the scenes at the exhibits and learning all about stamps and history of letter writing. It was sooooooo gratifying. I'm now using stamps I found in my mother's desk drawer that HER mother had left behind in her desk years ago - lots of 4 cent and 6 cent "commemoratives" and a bunch of cool 8-cent on the moon landing, etc........ I saved them for a while (in case they were ever worth something) but am having fun adhering them to envelopes for the purpose for which they were intended. I just need LOTs of them per envelope, now!
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      May 7 2013: Wow Janet, incredible! I don't think that I can formulate an appropriate response after this touching comment. You truly do know the value of letters in today's society. I have seen almost 8 decades pass and I think of myself now, typing this message, and think about how far technologically our world has come. It's a bit frightening to be honest. But life goes on. Anyways, I send my grandchildren letters every month talking about everything from my daily pursuits to the frustrations that I encounter. I really do think that they enjoy this as opposed to opening up an email. Although my hand is not as steady as it once was, they can see the effort that I put in to each of my letters, even if it is something that they do not understand yet at their age. Hopefully they will continue this tradition that I have attempted to instill in them one day after I am gone.

      God Bless!

      -Todd C.

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