In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m taking a break from talking about fiction writing and do a little reminiscing. When my husband and I met, almost twenty-five years ago, he had one more semester of college left. I had three and half years. We lived in different parts of the state, and most of our dating years we actually spent in a long distance relationship where we only saw each other every four to six weeks for a weekend.
This was before cell phones and emails and Facebook and all the ways people stay connected today. Back then, although the communication method no doubt was in its death throes, we wrote letters.
Actual honest-to-goodness love letters.
I still have them all tucked away in several heart-shaped boxes, which had held Valentine chocolates. Some of them are sweet and sad because he missed me, some –well, let’s just say I hope our kids never read them.
He still has mine, too, in an old shoebox. I would use pretty stationary and spritz the letters with my perfume. I’m sure the mailman and his parents got a kick out of that. Heck, I’m sure he did, too.
Even though we talked often on the phone, we still sent each other a letter about every week. I often say I fell in love with him by letter. Neither one of use were talkers. Both a little on the shy side. Neither of us ever having a boyfriend or girlfriend before—yeah, we were each other’s first love. So, by writing letters we could tell each other anything. Things we couldn’t talk about on the telephone—which for both of us was in the kitchens of our busy homes. I got to know who he was, and he got to know me through our letters.
I often miss that connection we had then…not that we don’t have one now. But I think I miss the romance of receiving a letter from the man I love.
I wonder if in this day of instant communication and Facebook and Twitter, if we aren’t somehow missing out on something richer. Something stronger and more lasting as a letter. Emails get deleted, Twitter and Facebook statuses fall off, but a letter. That’s tangible and can last for generations.
So, in this month of candy hearts and overly commercialized Hallmark Cards, why not give your loved one something truly special….Something from your heart.
An old-fashioned love letter.