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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Lost Art Of The Handwritten Note

When was the last time you sat down with a pen and paper and took the time to write a note to someone?  I know that I used to do it a lot more when my grandparents were alive to let them know I was thinking of them.  In college, I sent them small items that were made in town along with a note to tell them a little about what I was doing each day and what it was like to live there.

On my journey last year, I took a watercolor set with me and started to paint each campsite view from the picnic table in small postcard size papers.  That lasted about 3 campsites.  I then bought some beautiful postcards with our national parks to send and, you guessed it...I still have them.  However, I did buy some watercolor cards for kids in Yellowstone, painted them and sent them to a few friends. That was the extent of sending a hand written note in the mail.

Isn't it a great feeling to get a nice note in the mail or a postcard from someone?  Each day I sort through the junk that comes in the mail and when I see something that is handwritten to me, it's an exciting day!  This year, I will try to send more postcards.  Perhaps, taking my national park cards and actually sending them out.

I've received a few emails from people that have stumbled upon my site and I am thankful for each and every one of them.  I try to respond to each one and I think I have done just that.  Thank you for reaching out to me.  Recently, I received a note from a woman in Colorado named Maggie who loves nature and the outdoors (just like I do!).

She wrote: "I am a 38 year old woman FULL of adventure in Colorado.  However, I have been sidelined since this August. I woke up with some crazy foot pain that has now spread into both feet and hands.  My husband and I are lovers of the great outdoors--my husband actually builds hiking trails for a living!  We spend our summers in a tent, on mules, in the woods, loving each other and life.  Well, now my days are filled with doctor visits, frustrations, scary nerve diseases being mentioned! ( I have a big old bad nerve biopsy scheduled for next Thursday in Denver!) and some feelings of hopes dashed."

Today she wrote to tell me how excited she was to receive a simple hand written note in the mail.  It made her day!  Since she is no longer able to travel, hike and live life the way she is used to, it was nice to receive something to bring her mind to the joy of being in nature...what she loves to do most.

In our world of texting, emailing and doing everything as fast as possible, we often forget to slow down and take the time to visit with a friend without a phone, or sit down to express our feelings on paper.  I know I plan to send more postcards on my travels this year...I will make a goal of it.

In the meantime, Maggie would love to receive a note from you to hear about your travels and adventures.  Since it's probably not a good idea to throw out her mailing address out on the web, you can email her at maggiecolorado@gmail.com to say hi.  I hope you do.

Make someone's day today...send a note to let them know you are thinking of them.

5 comments:

JoAnna said...

I love handwritten letters. Nothing replaces the personal feeling that goes into a real piece of snail mail.

I wrote Maggie an email. Here's hoping she's back up and hiking in no time!

Alison said...

Thank you so much JoAnna! I am sure Maggie will appreciate it! :)

JoAnna said...

Maggie wrote me back!

She said:

"Thanks for the email. I can't tell you much it uplifted my spirit. When your body goes wonky (the best way I can describe it) it is the little simple joys you love the most--like a random encouraging email from a stranger."

It made my day ... thank you for sharing Maggie's story, Alison.

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

My grandmother was a great letter writer and I learned from her. Now over time everyone has gone electronic or simply has no time to sit down and scratch out a few words. I have only one friend left who still attaches a postage stamp to their messages. There was a saying coming out of WW2, "A no mail day is a sad day." So true...to some.

Long ago, like you, I would pen & ink an image of my campsite or current surroundings directly onto the envelope - letter art (mailmen love that), but that lasted about as many campsites as did your watercolors. I have a fist full of collected post cards also. Think I will dig them out next time I am on the road.

That was a great post and it stirred up memories. Thanks.

Alison said...

I am so glad, JoAnna! I know you made Maggie's day! You are so sweet to take the time to do that.

Sinbad, thank you for sharing this. I totally agree about the hand written notes. I am so glad that you will revisit sending more notes out! I am sure the person that will receive them will be happy. :)

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