Letter Writing as an Art

Things are going swimmingly at Branch Hall this morning.  I’m in a very good mood.

  I’ve been painting all morning; doing art always makes me happy!  It’s so green outside; we’re on our second day of drenching rain . . .

It’s dark and stormy, blustery and windy outside the windows; I put on my Wellies and took the camera outside for these photos. Everything is beautiful, our thirsty lawn is so happy, and our new dogwood tree is in its first full, pure white bloom!

Joe made us a fire in the fireplace before he left for the gym; it’s cozy and warm here in my studio with the rain pattering against the window, blurring my view of the picket-fence garden … so what better time to add a little post to this blog.  The subject lately, at least in my mind, is always one thing.  Packing!  I could drone on about packing all day; I’ve got the orange shoes, the yellow raincoat, my dinner clothes, the diary, my pens and watercolor paper, the teacups, my books, all packed, for our trip to England via the Queen Mary II (in case you’re coming to this blog for the first time, we’re inviting you to come along, via this website; leaving from New York on May 4th! For two months!  I’ll be posting photos of Beatrix Potter’s House; tea rooms, cottages, small towns, and gardens!!!) — but you all know what packing is like.  You don’t really need to hear about it do you?  At least, not until it’s all done!  I ordered perhaps my last thing from the internet this morning; these WONDERFUL little push-button razor blades I keep in my purse to cut inspirations out of magazines with.  My other ones were about 200 years old!  So organized! (Ha! her inner voice laughs sharply, knowing the real truth.)

So anyway, instead, today I’m going to talk about How To Write a Good Letter!  Won’t that be fun?

I haven’t done a How-To kind of post in a while; but one of our girlfriends, Heather, wrote me a couple of days ago . . . she has a daughter named Olivia; they live in California, and Olivia is going away to college in August.  Mom and daughter have decided to correspond “the old-fashioned way,” as she put it, with letters.  They’re making a diary of Olivia’s college years to last forever.  Priceless.  Heather asked for ideas on writing good letters . . . I told her I would think of some and thought yay!  Relief from packing news.  Saved by the bell.

So this won’t be about business letters, there’s plenty of that out there on the internet; I’m more interested in letters between friends, like these planned between Heather and Olivia; moms and daughters, sisters, and best friends; Mother’s Day is coming soon; mom’s love letters from their children. (As a hint, your child could read this post. :-))  
The one thing I remember when my mom first taught me about letter writing was never to use “I” in the first sentence. I don’t know if it’s a real rule, but it stuck in my head and I pretty much can’t write a letter any other way; if I start with “I” I feel my mom over my shoulder. A letter should always begin by making the person you’re writing the focus and main subject — just a little thing like, How are you?  How have you been?  What have you been up to?  Then you can say, “I loved your last letter — you have no idea how you made my day.”  Now the receiver is totally in love with you and you can say everything else you like. 
  
A letter is a gift; so if you think of yourself as “giving,” you will make your letters just naturally more interesting to the person receiving them. Ask yourself  “what can I give (my person) that she would like?” Such as the name of a good new book you are reading, a recipe, a detailed description of what was served to you at a restaurant, what you wore, a movie review, what your new shoes look like, a great web store for clothes, a funny conversation you had; details make a letter come alive. Little inclusions like a page of stickers, a fall leaf, a cartoon from a magazine, an article you think the receiver would be interested in, the name of a website or blog you love to visit, a bookmark, a CD, a dried flower, a photo, or a drawing in the margins can, of course, add a lot to the gift of a letter and make it into a kind of art.  They turn your letters into “keepers.”
In front of me on the table while I’m writing, when possible, is always the last letter I received from the person I’m corresponding with.  I take care to answer any questions they may have asked; respond to what stories they have written, comment on their new shoes, their new adventures, their hopes and dreams, to keep the thread going, so they know I’m “listening.”  They also spent their time writing to me, and I want them to know I am grateful so they will do it again!  

 Sometimes I have so many things to say I even write the subjects down ahead of time so I can remember to include everything… such as: the bird feeders, what Jack did, tea with the girls (what’d we eat and wear, who said what), what Joe is doing, and a trip we’re planning.  I always ask about their own families and friends, moms, and children; their new house, their upcoming party, etc. I don’t want the letter to be all about me. The idea is to put a bit of sunshine into an everyday world of vacuuming, ironing, grocery shopping, dinner making, the regular old routine. I want my letters to make someone stop, put the kettle to boil for tea, get a cookie, and have a mini vacation in the day.
Pretty stationery is fun to write on, but it isn’t necessary; lined school paper is fine too . . . and perfect handwriting isn’t necessary either; typing is OK, but
everyone does love a handwritten letter; “There ain’t (as Thomas Edison said) no rules around here; we’re trying to accomplish something!”  Despite all the “rules” I’ve just given you, your own heart will be the true dictator of what should or shouldn’t be included.  A letter should be like your spoken words, imperfect, honest, straightforward and real.  Do your best with spelling and grammar but don’t fret about it.  The only thing that matters is the connection, and that happens with flow of words, and sharing of life experiences.
 I keep my favorite correspondence in a basket with a lid; as I’ve always said, a phone call is nice, email is OK too because it’s the way of the world and staying connected is the most important thing, but an old-
fashioned letter can truly be a work of art and a voice for the ages.

There actually is one steadfast rule in letter writing: never, ever send a letter in anger.  If there are words you feel you must say, go ahead and write them, as strongly as you choose, get everything out of your system; then put the letter in a drawer for at least a week.  I guarantee that when you read it again you will tear it into a thousand pieces and be so happy you never sent it.  All conversations such as these are best done in person; you will not need a letter like that floating around in the world.

I’m about to face the extreme letter-writing challenge: how to make postcards interesting with so little space to say anything and no envelope to put anything in!  Usually I choose a card with a picture that tells one story, while I pick a subject of the travel that’s different and try to be as detailed as possible, expressing the flavor of the place; such as, “We’re sitting in a sidewalk cafe, at a table for two with wire back chairs that are bent into heart shapes; the sun is shining, there are big white clouds, red geraniums in pots are everywhere; the awning over our head is black and white striped; in front of me is a tall double-decker red bus stopped to pick up passengers, and I’m writing YOU. Joe is playing with his camera, we’re sharing a plate of “chips,” which I’m tearing up and tossing to little wrens hopping around under the table.  It’s a wonderful trip; miss you; wish SO MUCH that you were here, love you, xoxo. ”
 
Well, I guess that’s all I can think of about the wonderful world of letters. Hope it’s helpful. And to you Heather and Olivia, enjoy your letter-writing project!
One last thing — this kind of goes along with letters; I keep hearing that Congress is trying to do away with the Post Office (!), and that in fact they have begun to close some of them.  If you feel, as I do, that this is going too far (since, for one thing, we have the nicest people in the world working at our post office), would you please email your representatives and ask them not to do this?  Remember how quick they can do this kind of thing so that we don’t even realize what’s happening until it’s too late? Now is the time to tell them that we would prefer they keep their rotten little paws off the post office (you probably shouldn’t quote me :-)).  They have closed tons of Post Offices in England, so we know it can happen.  It’s so sad, and we are the only ones to save ours.  If you don’t know who your representatives are, just Google it (like: “Your state name, congressmen and senators”).  And then, for example, let’s say your senator is Mike Smith, just Google “Mike Smith Contact” and you’ll get their email address; tell your senator to vote for bill #S1789 to save the Post Offices. I knew you would want to know. xoxo 
OK, Girls, off I go . . . Just loving the “Angelique” tulips now in bloom — Rainy Days and Mondays Never get me down!  Not when they’re as pretty as this one is!  OK, off I go, gotta go pack!  Have a wonderful day! ♥
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385 Responses to Letter Writing as an Art

  1. Barb Jensen says:

    How I love your post this morning. I, too, truly believe that a letter in the mail is jsut about the best day-brightening gift anyone can receive. When I went off to college 40(!) years ago, my father sent me a letter every week. He continued that tradition after I graduated, got married and had children, keeping in touch weekly until he passed away. I still have many of those letters, neatly typed and lovingly sent, tucked away.

  2. "Auntie" says:

    Oh dear me, now you make me want to go write a letter. -sigh- I used to. I did. But it seems that no one (I knew), wanted to write a letter like you suggested. -moan- All they wanted to do was say if it was raining, and nothing-stuff like that. And they wanted to write it quickly, in a teensy-tiny-short letter. (Which I consider a note, thank you very much.)

    -sigh-

    I ceased writing letters. Having tried to put myself into mine, I felt kind of peeved, at what I received back.

    OK, I know I sound *grumpy.* I know. I know. Well, I am, a bit *grumpy,* about this subject. So I really hope, that someone else (among your Dear Readers) will have a similar tale-of-woe to share. And make me feel less like an Ol’ Prune. -gigggles-

    Gentle hugs,
    “Auntie”

    It’s one thing to be an individual;
    but it’s another thing to be an individual
    at the cost of the people around you.

    ~Jack Grisham

    • sbranch says:

      We all need a partner in crime … like in cooking, “a good cook must have an audience worth cooking for . . .”

    • pat addison says:

      oh dear “Auntie” my MIL (mother-in-law ) would be agreeing with you, she grumps because her daughter, and her grandkids never write her a note or a letter or even send a card on her birthday, anniversary, or any of the holidays like Easter, Halloween, Christmas, or Thanksgiving. they never send a gift or a thank you note or card to her for her gifts, and the excuse is they are so busy. we sort of got on their case on that and let them know that if they could not send to the folks, or acknowledge them at holidays or on their birthdays or anniversary than don’t be looking to us to send anything to any of them at any time soon. the oldest granddaughter is graduating this summer and expecting big checks from everyone, she had better be rethinking that as she won’t be hearing from us except for a short graduation card. sad but true.

  3. Teresa G., Lafayette, CA. says:

    There is nothing like an “old-fashioned” letter. I have dozens and they are treasured pieces of my life. I want to share an idea for all your blogger fans, and especially your friends Heather and Olivia. 6 years ago at an annual gathering of “The Girls” in Napa, CA., my friend Lisa had all of us pick a number. Hmmmm….what is she up to? She is always so clever. When 8 girls who had gathered from all different corners of the state revealed their numbers, Mia, who had picked the #1 slip, was handed a package. A beautiful silver heart necklace and a blank journal awaited us. We write about our lives for a month, wearing the necklace (the love of all the girls around our neck) and then ship it off to the next friend based on what number you picked. When that box arrives on my porch it is like nothing else. I have burned dinner, ignored ringing phones, and various other fiascos ensued because I fall into reading and rereading the words of my dear friends and the rest of the world melts away. In turn we each relive lives, hear heartbreaking stories and uplifting ones, too. We hear the busy, busy lives of these fabulous women come to a screeching halt while they take the time to stay connected with words and pictures. Lisa called it “Sisterhood of the Traveling Necklace” (like the story of the same title, just substitute necklace for pants). We made rules that don’t always get followed, but we try, for example, you must mail it by the first of the month (that one is hard because we never want to take the necklace off!) Also, everything is included: the good, the bad, the ugly. We’re on our 4th or 5th journal. Women staying connected by our secrets…what is better? Thought you’d like that one, girls! Enjoy the rain, Susan! Love those kind of days!

    • sbranch says:

      Perfect connector!! Love that story Teresa!

    • Debbie P Weedsport, NY (near Syracuse) says:

      That is just such a cool idea, Teresa! Thank you for sharing and if you don’t mind, I’d like to borrow it sometime. Like Susan said ~ a perfect connector!

      • Linda Pintarell says:

        There is a book out there called “The Necklace” – thirteen women and the experiment that transformed their lives…by Cheryl Jarvis. Not about writing or a letter…but still interesting. Some of you may enjoy reading it!

    • Ann says:

      I love this idea! All my close friends live far away from me so I may have to start something similar. Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. Nina says:

    Hi Susan Great blog update as always! Very informative and inspiring. I may have to sit down and write a letter to my BF accross the pond now!
    Just wanted to ask you from someone who has never travelled by sea before are you allowed much luggage? Also do you buy many soveniers and things from England? How do you get on then? When I fly back from the states I always always hold my breath just in case I have shopped too much! Happy packing! xxxx

    • sbranch says:

      On the Queen Mary you’re allowed to bring all the luggage you want!

      • Nina says:

        Fabulous! xx

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Well, can you or do you really take a lot or do you have to keep in mind that you might have to carry what you take? (or do you just hire porters, etc.?) I’ve never been on a trip more than a week and it is usually by car, where I have become an expert at packing the cubbyholes I find. But I often think that I’m glad I don’t have to hold it down to what I can carry myself…LOL! 🙂

  5. Mary Spring says:

    Nice post !!…love the rainy -day flowers and warm fire…especially on a Monday morning…and you sharing your love for the art of letter writing and saving our beloved post offices… I ,too prefer “snail -mail”…my parents and brothers and sisters ( all nine of them) live in California and that is my favorite way to correspond….I think I was the last one in my family to learn the computer…I also have a box of treasured old letters and postcards…thanks for writing on this topic…P.s. can’t hardly wait for our journey to England!!!!!

  6. I agree that having a hand-written letter is the BEST! I recently spent some time in my attic looking at letters from my friends when I was a child and young adult that I’d left behind when we moved. Irreplaceable!

    We built a fire in our fireplace, too, yesterday because here in Maryland we had what you’re having. But this morning we had snow! Thankfully, it did not last and did not stick.

  7. Melina says:

    I appreciate the tutorial on letter-writing. I’ve almost forgotten the last letter I received, but I know how much I enjoy getting them. Only one remedy…start writing.
    And a little bit of wisdom from my beloved Grandma. Never put in writing what you don’t want the whole world to read. Even more sage in this day of emails, texting, facebook and twitter!

  8. Nellie says:

    Great blog, Susan! It’s always good to hear how things are in your “neck of the woods!”

    I must confess that I am relying on email more and more and doing fewer and fewer personally written notes or letters.:-( We DO make a point of using the mail service as often as possible, however, as my husband retired from the Post Office as a rural mail carrier!

    It must be mind-boggling to think about what you will need to take with you as you plan to be gone for two months! I’m sure I would forget something very vital.

    Have a wonderful Monday! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      We’ve had plenty of time to think about it and we’ve made lots of lists, hopefully we’ll have it all, although we have to remember, England is not the moon, they do have a few stores and things there! 🙂

  9. Patty says:

    Another dose of INSPIRATION! I still love writing letters and cards to my BFF that lives far from me. She in turn writes to me and we enjoy getting these in the mail from eachother. We have not resorted to only corresponding on the computer. So today I think I will ponder about what I can enclose in my next letter to her that I will write maybe today. Maybe some bird seed or some flower pedals. Thank you, Susan for another wonderful post of inspiration.

  10. marty says:

    Dear Susan:

    What a magnificent quote from the Tang Dynasty! Somethings change and some things do not-Love and Friendship have (thank goodness!) always been prized.
    Thank you for sending the thought to all of us and to take time from what is such a busy time for you to do so.
    Still raining in New York, but no one is really complaining, given the drought and the fact that so many parts of the country are not receiving the rain so badly needed. Last night the wind literally howled — was perfect for cuddling under the covers.
    I would love to come and wave you off on your great trip-the sort of good-bye that cheers you on and sets you up for a great adventure. I don”t hink that I am going to be able to do that, but I will be thinking of you and Joe and wishing you the very best of times!

  11. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Good Morning Sweet Sue…♥♫ Rainy Days & Mondays♥♫ are Cozy & Warm By Your Fireside…So Nice…We Had a Stormy Rainy Windy Weekend…& Now a “Cold~Front” has arrived & Cleared up Our Skies…Bright Blue & Air Crisp & Clean…Dazzling…going down to 48 Tonight! 🙂 Yay! (Cold for Florida & In April Yet!) 🙂 Packing…it’s Hard Work But You have Given Yourself plenty of time so I Know You are Organized…& You are a Seasoned Traveler…I Love The Orange Shoes…I Think of Pumpkins…& Magic… 🙂 & I Thank You for The Lesson on Letter Writing….always Helpful….Hugzzzzzzz….& We Must Save Our Post~Offices….Things get so Crazy…Yikes! ok…off to finish up my Monday Chores…Enjoy Your Cozy Rainy Day…I can Hear Your Dogwood Tree ♥♫Singing & Dancing in The Rain…♥♫( Loved The Rain Video)….Magic…& Jenny My Baby Sister is having Snow in PA this Morning…Amazing…Have a Merry Monday Darling! xoxo Poof! ♥♫ 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Have a great day Angie!♥ ♫ ♥

      • Angie(Tink!) says:

        Yay! I Shall Sweetest Sue! You Too….I can Feel How Excited You are…count Down to Bon Voyage!…Oh My Goodness! xoxo Poof! 🙂 ♥♫

    • Karen P - Wisconsin says:

      Angie, you’re always such a breath of sweetness in the blog! Love your “doodling!” xoxo…kp

  12. Belinda says:

    Absolutely love this post today! Recently, when going through storage boxes, I found letters from two pen pals I had when I was in high school 30+ years ago! One was from Austria and the other Jamaica. I also re-read the letters my father sent to me my freshman year in college just before he passed away, April 1, 1982. They are such treasures that I will cherish forever.

    Hope you have a blessed trip! Can hardly wait to see the updates!

  13. Karen Saunders says:

    First off….I just LOVE ‘there are always two cups at my table’. Isn’t that just the greatest saying? You should do some notecards or stationery with that being the letterhead. Secondly….we have been playing ‘Boggle’ (to death!) in our house lately. It is so much fun and the new Boggle games come little and completely contained so you don’t lose the dice. I thought it would be a fun game for you and Joe that doesn’t take up a lot of space. A warning though….it’s VERY addicting!! Also, Harrods will ship anything you buy back to the states. (If you buy it from them, that is). I bought a beautiful creamware soup tureen and it came back perfect. One more thing…when we were there (13 yrs. ago) in April, I wore a yellow raincoat and my friend wore a red one. Boy howdy did we stand out……we screamed ‘TOURIST’!!!!! Because of course all they wore was black, black, black. It was kinda funny though because it was really easy to find each other. England…I love England sooo much…anything English. I am so jealous and excited at the same time. It is so nice of you to take the time to contact us. I hope it doesn’t intrude on your trip too much. But I, for one will be very grateful.

    • sbranch says:

      I hope it will just be easy each day to pop some photos up, I might talk less and let the photos give out their thousand words instead.

  14. Kathy from Virginia says:

    Love the letter lesson, Susan; thanks! When I moved away from Michigan to Virgnia, almost thirty years ago, my grandma and I corresponded via letters. I used to give her stationary for Christmas because she wrote a lot of letters to a lot of people. When she died ten years ago, my mom gave me a box that was full of the stationary that I had given Grandma. Grandma had written on each box of stationary, “from Kathy,” and the date I gave it to her. She never used up all the stationary, just a little bit here and there. So I have been using that stationary to write letters to others. I will probably use it up, but I love it because it reminds me of Grandma. Happy Packing, Susan. I can’t wait for our trip. I think I’ll get a special box of Earl Grey tea just for the occasion!

  15. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Hi Susan! Thank you for today’s message! I was so glad to find your posting this morning encouraging letter-writing–it is something we should all keep up! I have a box of cards and letters I’ve received over the years, as well as all of the letters my husband and I mailed each other when we had first met, and they are priceless!!! You’ve inspired me to sit down and write my 94-year-old aunt a note this morning as I know she will enjoy finding it in her mailbox. It is so easy to get busy and rely on the computer or telephone but there is nothing like getting a letter! 🙂

  16. Pam says:

    Very good letter writing advice, especially the ‘angry’ bit! 🙂 It’s so rare to get a newsy hand written letter these days, usually it’s just bills or junk mail coming through the letter box. I’ve been stocking up on stamps the past couple of weeks as the prices are going up quite a bit at the end of the month. I think that puts people off writing letters as well, much cheaper to email, which is a shame.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s true, much cheaper, faster, easier…. and so great to be able to be in such quick touch with so many. Letter writing will probably be like diary writing — more for die hards and as wonderful connective projects such as Heather and Olivia are planning.

  17. Lynn McMahon says:

    Good Morning~
    Nothing says ” I love you” like a handwritten letter or note~Especially in cursive writing!
    As long as we Girlfriends are around the lost arts of letter writing are cursive writing will live on! ~Have a great day~!
    ~Sunny Blessings~
    Lynn
    ( Signed in cursive of course! )

  18. Rebecca L. says:

    I’m a terrible packer, always take too much. Then I have to haul around a heavy suitcase. The upside, enjoying somewhere else. 🙂

    I haven’t written a good letter in a very long time. It’s mostly cards and emails now without much detail, I should change that. My favorite letter writing era was when I was in junior high. Living in Arizona, my best friend spent her summers in California, we’d write each other every week. I did look forward to those letters.

    Good morning from an overcast and cool Riverside, CA.

  19. Lori from Maine says:

    Hi Susan and girfriends ~ Receiving a letter in the mail is so exciting (unless it’s “official” 🙁 )! I’ve saved so many letters over the years and rereading them is so much fun. My Mom saved all of my letters and every so often I’ll read one of them where I was a 20 yr. old newlywed fretting over cooking my first Thanksgiving turkey, a 24 yr. old going through a divorce or a 29 yr. old finally meeting her soul mate (we’ve been married for almost 28 yrs!). It’s the story of our lives, our history.
    Susan I have to share with you something wonder-full that your blog has made possible. Dorothy Ann from Cougar Mtn. and I sort of “clicked” writing back and forth through your blog. I shared my address with her – here in SW Hbr. all you really need is name/town/zip – I’m sure it’s like that in Vineyard Haven. I received a note from her on Saturday, and we’re starting an e-mail/snail mail friendship! Your should see her handwriting…it’s absolutely beautiful 🙂 ! So thank you…I haven’t had a pen pal since I was in junior high – it was through my French class. I was writing to a boy named Phillipe from Paris (ooh la la 🙂 ) but it didn’t last too long…my French was horrible and his English wasn’t much better!
    Hope your packing is under control. I usually start packing way ahead of time, get all pleased with myself and then leave most of it until the last minute. We have a “last minute bag” that has tons of unrelated things in it. I’m trying to get better, but…
    Enjoy the rainy day – we’re having the same weather. It’s kind of cozy.
    xoxoxo from SW Hbr. ME
    p.s. Hi Dorothy Ann!!

    • sbranch says:

      How darling; you are our first off-the-blog pen pals that I know about! Love it, makes me feel so good. I had a pen pal who is now a dear friend who lives in England, we visit each other; she’s a doll and I wouldn’t have known her if it wasn’t for letters.

      • pat addison says:

        we should all start getting a penpal, i love writing letters, been writing to a girlfriend of mine for over 16 years, and we still keep on chatting through our letters. anyone want to be penpals out there???? hugs….. 🙂

  20. Carol Hesch says:

    Can’t wait to show this to my daughter– She’ll be off to college before I know it. I used to love getting ‘snail mail’ in college—that’s all we had anyway! I kept in touch with so many people that way. Great post!

    • sbranch says:

      A great connection!

    • Karen P - Wisconsin says:

      Young people today are so into communicating their every thought through Facebook and Instant Messaging! I’ll bet your daughter would LOVE letters from you in the mail. Wish I had done that more when my kids were in college….busyness of life gets to you sometimes and good intentions are often left by the wayside! Good luck, Carol!

  21. Sharon Byars says:

    Good day,
    Your post is so appropriate as was shopping your store for stickers. Want to put more thoughts down in journals and letter writing. An envelope in the mail box from a friend is a wonderful joy. Because of your posts, started a gardening journal and my hiking trips journal. Thank you Susan and have a wonderful rainy day.

  22. Terri from Swansboro, NC says:

    A couple of years ago, before I went to Germany, I was working with teens in a weekly setting. Our leaders told us to stay in contact with them during the week. I didn’t want to call and I was so glad many didn’t have cell phones either. So what was I inspired to do? Write them letters. And so I did for the time I was with them. Did I ever get anything back letter wise? No, not one time. But I heard from others how much these teens enjoyed the letters and would look in the mailbox, something they had never done before. I told these girls that if they enjoyed the letter maybe I would enjoy hearing from them too… still didn’t get anything! LOL! I do have one that keeps in touch every now and then by email. I love writing letters and have done so for years. I see it as a ministry so it doesn’t bother me so much to get nothing back. BUT it is a thrill when I do! LOL! Thanks for a beautiful post…your dogwood is beautiful! My blooms have been gone for a while now… Have a Marvelous Monday! Wood fire crackling and some comfort food sounds good for today!!

  23. Judy from Oregon says:

    Thanks for the great letter writing tips. We need to start a movement to bring back letter writing. Last year one of my son’s friends from Boston came for a visit and stayed with us. We have been writing to each other since then. I received a short handwritten letter from her last week and I can’t tell you how much that made my day and how many times I have read her letter since it arrived in the mail. There is nothing better than a letter from a friend to brighten your day.

  24. Coni (Nashville, TN) says:

    Susan ~ You’re absolutely right about a letter being a gift to the recipient. When I was about 9 or 10 years old, my mom bought me a set of strawberry-scented stationery with matching envelopes. The paper was pink-and-white checked, and there was a row of scratch-n-sniff strawberries at the top. I absolutely LOVED using it. What I wouldn’t give to have a piece of it now!

    My 8-year old niece loves writing and receiving letters, so about a year ago I decided that I’d buy a journal in which we could write to each other. That way, long after I’m gone, she’ll have every letter we ever wrote to each other all in one place.

    I found the most adorable pink & green paisly journal at my local bookstore. Each page is decorated with a similar motif, and it has a bookmark ribbon. (Very girly!) In my very first entry I told her what I was doing and why. She absolutely loved the idea, and we have been writing to each other regularly ever since. We use different colors of ink, doodle little drawings, paste stickers, leave code phrases for each other, and anything else we can think of to make it fun and interesting.

    We live in different states, so we have to mail it to each other. That means that we each keep the journal for a couple of months before sending it back, but oh, what a precious gift when it finally arrives in my mailbox!

    I’m deathly afraid that it will get lost in the mail, so I’m thinking of scanning each page as a sort of “backup”. Not nearly as good as the original, but better than having nothing at all.

    I also started one for her younger brother, and he wrote a few times, but I think he may have lost his. You know how little boys are. (smile!)

    Anyway, I just wanted to share this idea with you and the girlfriends. I hope this journal will be one of Julia’s lifetime treasures!

  25. Rae Ann says:

    Happy Monday, Susan~I have one very special daisy friend in Michigan…TTR is the letter writer extraordinaire…she does nothing with computers…she writes letters…Tammy lives in the town we use to live in in Michigan…she has a cottage about 2 hours south of ours on Lake Michigan…we correspond all winter and in the summer…what fun it is to go to the mail box here or the PO box in Michigan and have a letter from Tammy…I always send one early so when she gets to her Summer Assembly there is a letter from me waiting for her…at the end of the season…always a bittersweet time…we always send a colorful leaf we find on a walk, on our cottage door mat or somewhere else in our path…thought we were the only ones who did that!!!…I’ve sent Tammy many a Susan Branch bookmark printed from your “freebie” section, Susan Branch cook books for her birthdays…so glad you are “tucked in” your cozy abode with a fire and lots to keep you busy…I love days like that…Rae Ann from Minnesota…getting ready to leave for Michigan very soon~haven’t packed one thing or made one list…don’t know what has gotten into me this year…xoxo…

    • sbranch says:

      You’ll have fun. I remember when I was 18, I could pack in a half an hour. Now I have detailitis. You’re probably just young. 🙂

      • Rae Ann says:

        OHNOOOOOOOO…I’m not young…just young at heart…I think my hubby Dave is your age and I always say I am MUCH younger…by a year and two months…til my birthday in May, my hubby is two years older than I am…I hope you won’t be getting all that snow that Pennsylvania is getting today…stay warm and cozy…xoxo…

        • sbranch says:

          Young at heart, is what matters, no matter how old we are!

          • Rae Ann says:

            You are absolutely right…hope your rain has stopped…it was a beautiful day in the neighborhood in western Minnesota today…perfect weather for me…70ish and sunny blue skies…rain tonight…but I love the sound and smell of rain…xoxo…

  26. pat addison says:

    good sunny morning susan, everyone. i love letter writing, been writing letters for over 16 years with a bvery dear friend of mine in Michigan. we have been writing back and forth for so long i should think we have supported the postal system with all the postage we have paid. i love letter writing, much better than e-mail or texting, i know its old fashioned, but i have yet to see anyone improve on it. will contact our rep and help support the post office, around here that post office is crucial as we are a far piece away from big towns, and our carrier is a doll of a lady. another hint to everyone, come christmas time its a nice surprise for the postal carier to get a little gift of homebaked goodies in the mailbox, after all they do a good job of getting your mail to you, in all kinds of weather. i try to get a homebaked goodie in the mailbox for her at christmas and at easter, makes her day and mine too!!!! have a wonderful sunny day everyone. hugs………. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      The bad news is that, of course, they are starting with the small towns!!!

      • pat addison says:

        sad but true, and if we lose that post office, that means we may have trek down to either Grants pass or clear over to Medford to collect packages and mail. we don’t plan on losing our post office, too many folks around here depend on it.

  27. Jeanette says:

    Susan, Another fabulous post!!!!! I love to write letters and receive them too! I have an entire cabinet stuffed to the brim with stationary, journals, notecards and a humongous basket with folders of stickers. Yet, I still find ones I “don’t” have!?! I have several boxes of your stationary and a book of postcards you designed. I haven’t been able to bring myself to send the postcards because I love the artwork so much myself!!! I do use the stationary though and your stickers. I have a file folder labeled, “Susan Branch Stickers!”
    I think I have to find one of those cutters you orderd, what a great little find! Thanks for sharing.
    Beautiful photos on a rainy morning. We desperately need rain here in central IL, I’d love to have a day listening to the rain pattering about. There is something comforting about being home cozy, as you are and puttering about and rain tapping against the window panes…
    Wishing you a magnificently, splendid Monday!
    xoox,
    Jeanette

  28. Julie Cavrich says:

    Susan, your blog today was great. We do need to save our Post Offices! Your blog reminded me of a quote I have in one of my scrapbooks:
    “What a heavely moring!
    All the bells are ringing;
    The sky is so golden. . .
    And before me lies
    Your Letter.”
    Robert Schumann to Clara Schumann

  29. Hi Susan! Your letters sound just like your blog posts! They are a gift!! You are brilliant!! Happy packing, and I hope you get just enough rain, and then the sun comes back 🙂 xoxo Debbie

  30. Rosie says:

    Hello, hello, haven’t commented in a little while, but your helpful letter-writing pointers remind me of my dad, who wrote to me often.

    He always, always, without fail, started by saying “How are you all by now? Fine I hope!” So he sort of followed your guideline for the first sentence, and maybe that was one of the many reasons I always enjoyed his letters so much. 🙂

    Gosh, I think I need some pen pals! I used to write great letters, but most of the recipients have passed on, sadly, even a couple of my dearest girlfriends.

    Oh! I must mention, having just now caught your last post, too, that I have tears of wonder and amazement in my eyes after seeing the little video at the end – breathtaking! What a marvelous world we live in, indeed! Thanks for that, I will be watching it often.

    You two have the bestest, most wonderful vacation, and I’ll be here often to enjoy your updates. Bon voyage!! ♥

  31. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    Lovely post. I have all the letters my great-grandmother wrote to me tucked away in my cedar chest, and they are beyond precious to me. When my mother-in-law passed away several years ago my husband and two sisters-in-law found many, many letters that she has saved over the years. Among them were all that her then 18 year old son (soon to become my husband) had written her from the jungles of Viet Nam. They take my breath away and bring me to tears every time I look at them, and they are priceless to me and to our children and oldest grandson.
    I am so grateful for this “liquid sunshine” that we’re receiving today! My daughter and I spent the day in New York City on Saturday, and the weather was beautiful–on the way home it began to rain, and rain, and RAIN! The earth was really getting dry in our little corner of central PA, so it is welcomed with open arms. While we were in NYC we went in to Laduree, a dear little shop on Madison Ave. where macaroons are flown in daily from Paris. We each purchased a beautiful little box of six macaroons, in the most wonderful flavors and colors. The incredibly sweet shop lady told us they were best if eaten as soon as possible, but in any case they should be stored in the frig and eaten within three days of purchase. We walked over to Central Park, bought coffee from a vendor, sat on a bench, and ate three each at once!! I considered trying to freeze the orange blossom flavor and having it with a cup of tea (in my Emma zinnia mug) to celebrate the day we set sail for England, but thought better of it! All the flavors are exquisite–hubby liked the salted caramel best, and I think my favorite was the rose.
    Happy packing!

  32. Teresa G., Lafayette, CA. says:

    Hi Debbie from NY! Yes! I would love it if you started the Sisterhood of the Traveling Necklace! Such a fun way to stay connected in the fabulous world of women! My husband knows when that box arrives I’m a goner for hours. 🙂

  33. Holly says:

    Hello everyone! Remember the movie about the Californian lady who divorces and moves to Tuscany? I can’t remember the name of the movie, however, she writes very good letters & postcards! Today’s post reminded me of that movie. I’ll have to find it and watch it again.

    The best thing for packing is a list. I have two lists going for my trip to quilt retreat. I hate packing though, so haven’t even started. I hope you’re way ahead of me Susan. How do you pack for a 2 month trip?? Unimaginable!

    • sbranch says:

      Under the Tuscan Sun! You were almost there! I don’t KNOW how to pack for a two month trip. I showed Joe a stack of books and art supplies, I said, feel this, see how heavy it is, see how big it is, are you thinking about suitcases????

      • Victoria Miller says:

        Yes, Susan, reading your comments about writing postcards also reminded me of Under the Tuscan Sun, particularly since I just watched the DVD again a couple of days ago. What a delightful film. And what brave adventurers travelers are!

        • sbranch says:

          It really can be scary out there, especially driving with Joe on the the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the road! Yikes! Watch out England, here we come!

  34. Linda Pintarell says:

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE receiving cards and letters in the mail. Doesn’t happen too often…but I still love it. Remember as a kid waiting for the mail to see if the stamp affixed might be a new one to add to your collection. I do…what fun! And I do remember a letter my dad wrote me at camp. Didn’t know what to say (and he had great penmanship) – so he just wrote – Dear Linda: Hope all is well. We did (just a bunch of squiggle lines…with and “and” and a “the” interspered here and there). This was all down the page and I was so frustrated trying to read it until I realized he did it on purpose – they were not words…and I laughed and laughed. He had a wicked sense of humor…which I dearly miss as he passed 4 years ago at 96.

  35. Joan says:

    Are you coming home on the “Queen” also? Just wondering cuz if you can take all the luggage you want, with airline rules now, you might have to rent a private jet! ha ha. Have a jolly ole time.

  36. Letter writing… by hand… IS a dying art! There are only a handful that can keep it up! I will save all my coins to afford how exspensive those stamps are just so I can send something REAL!! In this day and age something real goes a long way. That’s how your blog comes across, Susan. You are reaching people because of your ability to be real across this medium! thank you!
    I wish I could give you a list of all the things that I want you to paint for stickers. Or your journals….. Your interpretation of them would be so great.

    After your two months in England- I’m sending my wish list!

    Amanda

  37. Robin says:

    You have such a truly delightful blog….. it is one of the highlights of my day reading it as it is REAL and touches my heart! Thank you for sharing all your insights, quotes, gorgeous pictures and Jack! All are the best! Thank you so very much. I so hope your trip goes well…. it will be so much fun to keep up with your adventures.

    All the Best! ….. and thanks.

    New Mexico

  38. Hollace says:

    I suppose I had been a technophobe, but when my first child went away to college I learned to e-mail in a hurry! I understand the allure of a handwritten letter, and I think it’s a wonderful idea to compile the letters from college as your friend is doing, but you can also print and save into a binder the emails, which is what I did with my kids’ letters.
    From my own college experience, the 10 days’ wait between posting a letter to my folks and them receiving it across the country and sitting down to answer and the returning mail delivery time was EXCRUCIATING! Of course we didn’t have the option of email or cell phones in those days and a long-distance call was a rare thing. So I was personally thrilled when my kids and I could write and answer each other on the very same day. You can still be thoughtful and funny or even poetic in an email–you just can’t send pressed flowers. (I did that, too, by snail mail, sent the fall leaves from our maple tree, or cartoons I knew they’d like, and little holiday mirror stick-ons…)
    I do appreciate the handwritten, but email takes the wait out of the anxious mother and the homesick student’s communication…and can also be saved.

  39. christie ray says:

    Rainy days, a fire in the fireplace, and letters….just a few of my fa-vor-ite things…thank you for these presents this morning:)) Your dogwood is beautiful…and this is her first year in your yard isn’t it? She’s letting you know how happy she is you claimed her, because gals like you reallllly really appreciate flowering gals like her:)One of my little Japanese lilac trees we planted last summer gave me one fragrant bloom, to let me know she’ll stay awhile, just be patient. She made sure it was closest to the front door so I can get a wonderful whiff each time I go in and out…
    That last photo of your tulip is gorgeous!! I was just sure it was a delicate rose. ….took my breath…especially because it was holding little raindrops:)
    Happy packing, Dear One! I am getting soooo very excited about our trip:)

  40. Terri says:

    I wish I had had your “rules” 45 years ago when I wrote an angry letter. I wanted it back as soon as it left my hand… I ruined a very wonderful relationship with the love of my life, and I have been broken hearted since then. I would say it’s the most important of your rules.
    Thanks for the congressman’s addy. I’ll be writing mine, by snail mail.
    Hugs!

    • sbranch says:

      Ooooo, snail mail! Power to the people! 🙂

      I’ve done some stupid things too, in writing, just part of the learning curve, right into the ground!

  41. Country Gal says:

    Another wonderful post . I am afraid this day and age hand writing will be a thing of the past. I love hand writing , have kept a hand writen journal for over 35 years and still going hehe ! We hand writers need more people like you to make sure hand writing lives on forever.
    I cant wait till your trip either hehe its been years since I have been to England . I am also English/Brit nut as I was raised by English parents with a lot of English tradition , I was born Canadian but there is more English/Brit in me then Canadian right down to the words and the way I speak , I use a lot of English frases and the old type of slang lol The weather here is like winter again only with out the snow thank goodness ! Have a great day !

  42. Nancze says:

    I enjoyed the letter writing suggestions very much. I use to love to write letters and I stopped because I just never seemed to have anything interesting to write about. So I started sending cards. Pretty Cards I would find and then some cards I would make. They always have enough room to inquire about the person I am writing to and also was I have been doing since I last wrote. If I got chatty I would enclose the rest on some nice stationary and place it in the card. I enjoy your blog very much, you always have something interesting to talk about and share some lovely ideas. God Bless and have a wonderful trip!

  43. Country Gal says:

    P.S When you get to England please tell me they still have MARKS & SPARKS as we called it Marks & Spencer stores ! They were the best ! Oh and dont forget to get a huge chocolate bar they were always a treat for us as kids and fish and chips in the news paper YUMMY ! I really need to go for a trip to England again and visit relatives. I even have relatives in Scotland which I have never been to. Papa ( hubby ) here has never been to England even though is dad and some family are English or as we call them British !

    • sbranch says:

      They do, I know because I went on line to find out just a couple of weeks ago. Going strong!

  44. Carol Maurer says:

    Susan,
    Loved your lesson on letter writing. We do get lazy and don’t write enough letters these days. I used to write letters all the time to friends and family, even when I didn’t get any replys. I still send notecards quite often whenever I do write. Perhaps I should send you some of our rain. Seems like we’ve had quite enough already this winter/spring. Frank, my husband, has been waiting days to be able to redo our front porch. FINALLY, no rain due until mid week. Hope the weatherman is right for a change. I know the East coast really needs the rain very badly. Well, I’m off to finish up making thank you cards for the Rose Society.

    Carol M

  45. Karen from Connecticut says:

    Thanks for reminding me to take time to appreciate things. I always look forward to your blog. Wish I could be more like you…
    Have a marvelous trip! I am going on vacation next week – but for just a week! So I guess I better get going with my packing too! The Caribbean is one of my favorite places. ;0)

  46. Suzanne says:

    What a wonderful post. I have been a stationer for more than 30 years and I appreciate everything you have said about letter writing. If I might suggest to Grandparents out there…write to your babies…they love it. Once before my first granddaughter could read I think she was barely two; I stuck a little enclosure card in an envelope, it was the Gordon-Frasier teddy bear. I thought she would love the cute bear…she got hysterical..”no words…no words” . My daughter could not console her, I has not sent her words. She is 12 1/2 now and we still correspond and each spring she calls to read Milne’s poem “Daffadandilly”. May your trip bring you much joy and beautiful memories.

    • sbranch says:

      You hear this so much, that children love this, it’s hard to believe it would ever go away!

  47. mari1017 says:

    Happy Monday, Susan 🙂 What a lovely post! Rain on and off outside my window matches your soundtrack! I’m blessed to have my 84 yr old mom still here – we love corresponding via letters and cards♥ One of the sweetest was a cute drawing of two dressed up mice, and inside it said “I give you a hug you in my heart.” When I apologize for a brief note and the handwriting, she just says “I’ve been reading your handwriting for years..I’m used to it – 🙂 ” Just like a mom ♥
    So excited for your trip to England! Sounds like you’re right on schedule to complete your packing for the lowering of the gangplank – with time to spare! 🙂
    How are the kitties? Are they receiving those “they’re going somewhere” vibes yet? I used to put my suitcase out and open it days ahead of time so my kitty wouldn’t be so spooked.
    Must hop – a cup of tea is and a note to my mom looking pretty good about now. I took the day off for my two-year hip replacement checkup – everything’s great and next appointment is in two years! Yeah!!! That was great news 🙂
    Happy packing and enjoying the rain of Spring – love the fireplace! ♥

    • sbranch says:

      Good for you! Kitties are doing great, we play with them constantly, and although the suitcases are out, no one has tried to shred them yet … we are counting our blessings!

  48. mari1017 says:

    p.s. those round blade cutters are the bomb! small to fit in smallest purse, and sharp – quilters use them – I have a red one! Everyone wants to borrow it 🙂

  49. Patricia H. says:

    Great post! I love letters too…we are all kindred souls here! Last month was a trying time and my dear bestie (as we call each other) got some cool notecards that were each the cover of a book (Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, etc) and mailed me a letter every few days…..it really cheered me to get those little cards and her words in the mail. I’ve just now written her a letter with the sisterhood of the traveling necklace idea….we live 3000 miles away so it would be so fun. We do email daily but a journal and necklace heading back and forth across the Atlantic seems too fun to pass up. Also may I add if Rosie above would like a pen pal I would certainly love to be one! Xx

  50. Martha Ellen says:

    Thanks for the tutorial in letter writing Susan. I have to say it’s been ages since I’ve received a snail mail letter. Technology has changed so much in our lives–I’m grateful but sad to see some things such as letter writing go by the wayside.
    We had that wonderful rain you are getting now! It’s quite chilly and we have a fire going in the fireplace also-so cozy! Your dogwood looks beautiful–I know it loves the rain. I thought I heard our flowers giggling yesterday. Enjoy your day dear Susan. ♥

  51. Bev says:

    Dear dear Susan…Just HOW did you know that the very NEXT thing on my Monday Top 5 things to do was letter writing??? Just to give me a lift and a boost, I said to myself, “self, for a treat, read Susan’s blog first, then write letters”…and there a gift from you on Letter Writing!!! Thank you, thank you!!! and now I am off to write a wonderful letter with all the great ideas you have planted for me!!! Happy ship sailing to you…

  52. Karen Saunders says:

    I forgot to say when I wrote you this am that my uncle had a box of cards and I was going through them because I enjoyed the Christmas illustrations…(they were all really old) and I noticed that on the back of these cards my great-grandmother had used them to write recipes. They lived in a remote area and I guess paper was scarce so she used them for recipes. It’s funny because their language use was so different from ours, and their penmanship was very elaborate. It was like stepping into another world.

  53. Victoria Miller says:

    A little visit to your house in the morning, when I’m having my coffee, seems a perfect start to the day. From the little bird in the rain, to that glorious dogwood, to join you by the fire made by your thoughtful husband, and talk about letter writing and hear about your forthcoming trip, all wonderful! The “…two cups at my table…” and your lovely drawing is so touching, and thank you again for sharing. A visit to your blog is a little rainbow in every day. And then, on the way out, a breathtakingly beautiful tulip, and then all the delightful comments by other visitors! And, I enjoyed the rain sounds so much, I found another titled Forest Raindrops (very wet!) and am listening to that now.

  54. Cyndi in NC says:

    I was thinking the other day about the Post Office and what they don’t do anymore. I was thinking about drop boxes. They used to be everywhere and then they were gone. I don’t know if the two or so that were here a couple of years ago are still here and is they are gone too. I don’t even go there if I miss my carrier I just go to the Post Office and drop it off. It’s sad. They keep charging more and giving less. Like a lot of things lately. You get 4lbs or sugar instead of 5. You get 1 1/2 qts instead of half a gallon of ice cream but you still pay the same price. Geeze… Ok, enough of that. I loved the Dogwood picture. Mine are done and I miss them already. Wish they lasted longer but then again I wish all my flowers lasted longer. *L* Good day all.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s all about the money, sad to say, but that’s the bottom line everywhere. Dogwoods should bloom forever, they are the prettiest tree! What a yearly treat!

      • Cyndi in NC says:

        I think if the trees bloomed year round I would love them but when they only bloom seasonally it gives me something to look forward to and I appreciated them more. It’s nice to have something to look forward to.

  55. Lisa V. from Flower Mound, TX says:

    Thank you for such a delightful post! I’m a member of a group called Letter Writers Alliance that is dedicated to keeping the art of handwritten letters alive. I have pen pals across the country that I’ve never met but we share a love of letters. I still write to friends and family but it is nice to receive letters in return. There are also a number of blogs dedicated to letterwriting out there. Your tips were helpful and inspiring. Even those of us who still write letters need suggestions and ideas to make our letters more meaningful. Any thoughts on another postcard collection?

    • sbranch says:

      Letter Writer’s Alliance looks very interesting! Do they put pen pals together? Because I think lots of our girlfriends would like that! And yes, we are thinking we need a postcard collection! Thanks Lisa!

      • Lisa V. from Flower Mound, TX says:

        Yes, they do put pen pals together. I have been matched with wonderful people through them. Yay for new postcards! So excited!

  56. Betty Marie says:

    Dear Susan,
    Information you share has a different ring to it. “LOVE”, it is in every bit of your time with us. How you do it, I haven’t a clue?
    You are just the perfect light. Ever notice light, to much and every thing is a blur, to little and one can’t see a thing. Light has to be just perfect to reflect light back so one sees.
    When I came to your blog I was not feeling that good about my life in general. What I found from all your sharing was I was so much like you. Liking all the same things from cats to garndening, to old books. I guess I had lost my self some where along the path. I started reading alll your older post and laughing and sharing and I realized all I needed was more women in my life that shared a womans world. Now I want to plan a tea. Go out with my camera and enjoy seeing all my blessings.
    You are a perfect light shining in this world and I am so blessed to have seen it. XO

    • sbranch says:

      This is me, my hand on my heart, patting it, and saying thank you Betty Marie. I love our connection!! So glad you are here. xo

    • Debbie P Weedsport, NY (near Syracuse) says:

      Betty Marie ~ The light….you said it so beautifully!
      And Susan ~ Not only is it a blessing to see your light…but a blessing that your light shines on us and illuminates the beauty in each of us! I’m patting my heart and blowing you a kiss!

  57. Jeanette says:

    You have inspired my husband and I to fly to New York from San Francisco and take the Queen Mary to England. I will be paying very close attention to your blog for your information will be most helpful to us when we go in 2013.

    • sbranch says:

      HOORAY!!! Oh I’m so happy for you. And look at all the delicious anticipation you will have . . . Yay for you!

  58. jeanne hedin says:

    I love the art of writing letters and deeply appreciate your post today! I try to write letters weekly to family members scattered around the country and always remind them that my mailbox loves to be fed, too. I regularly write to my young grandchildren, including stickers or some small item. We call them “mailbox snacks”. My oldest grandchild, age 6, is now writing the most adorable letters to me as well. I do appreciate technology and regularly use email, but I am hopeful that nothing will ever replace the handwritten letter. Thank you for your great tips and suggestion about contacting our legislators. Happy packing! So glad you are taking teacups with you! 🙂

  59. Cindy Tuning says:

    So glad you said what you did about the Postal Service. Whenever the price of postage stamps increases and I hear someone complain about it I have to speak up. When you think about what that stamp gives you, I think it’s amazing. A handwritten piece of beautiful paper in your own handwriting, words from the heart, something to re-read over and over while thinking of that person. It leaves your hand,gets sorted onto a truck, loaded on to a plane,flies across the country,sorted onto a truck and delivered to a loved ones hand….all for under 50 cents!!! Or, if it’s going to Sittingborn,Kent England….a mere 95 cents!!!! Unbelievable! And what is even more amazing to me is being able to write to my daughter and 4 weeks later that piece of paper that I held in my hand will end up in her hand aboard her Navy ship in the middle of the Arabian Sea. Incredible!!! E-mail is fast but a letter will last.. Thank you for reminding people to write their congressman.

    • sbranch says:

      I so agree about the cost; and it won’t be replaced with something cheaper or better! I know, even if it was a dollar, what can you get for a dollar that is so precious?

  60. Rachel says:

    I shall keep these tips in mind for my daughter- who is just starting out with penpals 🙂
    She does enjoy getting letters in the mail!

    • sbranch says:

      This seems to me the fun in being a mom, passing on the love of whatever it is that you love!

  61. Carolyne says:

    How refreshing this post is!
    My dear Mom has kept Every Single One Of My Letters beginning when I went away to Summer church camp! Then, there was college and trips to Europe, marriage and early adult travel. Now, some thirty odd years later, as I live a few hundred miles away (with grown children of my own) she is still saving every written word.
    It is a chronology of ones Life that is forgotten in this “instant” world with every form of technology at our fingertips.
    She and my Dad appreciate the cell phone we have given them with free minutes between us anytime. But to her, there’s nothing quite like the descriptions of everyday life. The birds I’m hearing while working in the garden, days with the grandchildren or what’s cooking for supper; those little things that she can reread again and again.

  62. Robin in New Jersey says:

    A letter in the mail is like a drink of water to a thirsty soul. I try to write at least one card a week to encourage a friend or someone who is sick or who I haven’t seen a a long time, just to say HI. And guess what, Susan? When I do write a letter, I almost always use stationary printed off your site. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing! You are a treasure to all of us!

  63. Jacquelyn Wirthlin ... Las Vegas, NV says:

    Loved your post this morning. You making your art makes me happy! We have a gorgeous little dogwood tree outside our kitchen window on Bainbridge Island and I miss it seeing yours blooming. Enjoy the rain. It is 100 degrees in the desert this afternoon … very unseasonable but still warm. I’m all packed and ready to board the Queen Mary. Have a wonderful day, Sue, and Girlfriends.
    Jackie

    • sbranch says:

      You’ll be getting a nice cool breeze from the deck of the ship … will cool you right down!

      • Jacquelyn Wirthlin - Las Vegas, NV says:

        Have my hat and coat ready for walks on the deck. Wondered if you were keeping an artist’s journal? Have been reading a wonderful book, “Artist’s Journal Workshop … creating your life in words and pictures”, by Cathy Johnson. I am trying to keep one and there are so many inspirational examples from journals kept by other artists. Mine is a huge “work in progress” but it is a lot of fun! Have a wonderful day!
        Jackie

        • sbranch says:

          Oh yes, I’ve mentioned it in my posts, I’m writing a travel journal that I’m illustrating and bringing home to have printed and to put on the website!

          • Jacquelyn Wirthlin - Las Vegas, NV says:

            It sounds amazing! Thanks Sue. Have a wonderful evening.
            Jackie

  64. Carole says:

    Very nice post – and so many comments! I thought you might like this little quote about happiness.

  65. Vickie in Olympia, WA says:

    Dear Susan,
    They do have stores in England. Don’t worry about packing. Pick the most comfortable pair of shoes, a sweater, your favorite outfit, lots of underwear and you can buy the rest. When you return home you can say, “Oh, picked it up in ENGLAND!”

  66. Jennie says:

    I am so inspired by Heather an and Olivia’s letter writing project! I used to write long letters when I was a child and then newly married and living far from everyone I knew. But I haven’t for ages . . . not a good, long, newsie one.
    For Christmas my mother gave me a book entitled Just a Note to Say . . . the Perfect Words for Every Occasion. (maybe it’s a hint?) It gives lots of good writing advice- especially for the difficult to know what to say occasions (like the loss of a loved one, or illness) I think I need to give it a good perusal.

    Your dogwood is looking splendid! I love spring rain- I actually think it just makes all the flowers and blooms that much cheerier! Here on the west coast of WA we are celebrating a few 80 degree days after some non-stop rain. The garden is going nuts! (and so are the sun-starved kitties! -they are rolling and frolicking and generally making a scene at every moment)

    • sbranch says:

      We sell that book in our web store; what a handy thing to have! Especially for those hard words, the perfect ones to use when someone has lost a loved one. Good gift! Love the sun after the rain, happy day Jennie!

  67. Gail Buss says:

    Hi Susan, This was a very important post today reminding all of us to write to our elected officials. There is absolutely nothing like getting snail mail! I love it and don’t get too much anymore except at birthdays and the like. I’m always sending notes and postcards to my grandchildren since I miss them so very much and I know they miss me too. On another topic, I’m wondering why you are packing teacups for your cruise? If you are like me, I’m a person who likes to drink tea out of teacups and not out of mugs like my husband. Perhaps that is the reason. One thing I cannot do is drink tea out of styrofoam cups…..just too yucky! In any event enjoy the rest of your rainy day and when the rain is over you’ll notice how much your flowers loved having rain to drink instead of the regular water we give them! Looking forward to your trip too. Hugs, Gail (Beverly hills, Fl)

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t tea out of styrofoam just the worst??? It really is. Something horrible happens to it!

  68. Susan says:

    Your trip sounds justwonderful. I have a query ; why take teacups to the country full of teacups?

    • sbranch says:

      Large mugs, just the right size, Emma Bridgewater. We’re renting places, what if all they have are tiny little teacups? Wonderful for a tea party, but in the morning, we need MUGS. Would not like to have to spend time hunting for the right cup. BUT, if we see a new cute one, that would be good too!

    • Karen P - Wisconsin says:

      My sister-in-law, Mary, introduced me to Whittard’s when we were on our trip there. Love their stores!

  69. Wendy Louise says:

    Another beautiful day in New England, the rain sounds so wonderful coming down at a rhythmic rate, sleeping is so delicious at night with rain like this. I just love your blog always, there isn’t one that isn’t fantastic. I love letter writing and this my teacher is a great lesson ! So much to look forward to with you as an internet friend. I am planning when you get back from your spectacular trip to write you a hand written letter, that will allow you to know more about me. You can tell so much about a person from their hand writing, I think. I know so much about the wonderful you, having seen your hand writing, you’ll have to see mine someday. When you are home and unpacked and cozy with your kitties again I will write. In the mean time let’s pack and embrace everything England. Wow it is raining and the sun just came out, I’m going out to look for a rainbow ! Happy packing ! OOXX Wendy 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I hope you find one Wendy … the sun is just coming up here, Blue Skies, a little breezy, really beautiful!

  70. Margot says:

    Thank you for teaching folks how to write a proper letter. I was thinking no one wrote letters anymore, except my mother and I. I will write my Congressman. Two months (wow), I never understood why people go so far for a week. Have a safe and adventurous trip!!! I was wondering about the cup you drew. I started collecting a similar pattern called Calico made in Staffordshire, England.

    • Margot says:

      PS I bought more stationary today. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a little old child’s cup — maybe from an old tea set? I found it in an antique store years ago, it has nothing written on the bottom, I had to paint it so everyone could “have” it!

      • Margot says:

        Thank you for always sharing!!!

        PS I love the double tulip. Tulips don’t grow very well here. The ones I bought at HD grew longer than the special “Holland” bulbs I bought from the private garden centers. People say my front flower bed makes them happy. Well…I do what I can. LOL

  71. Helen from Brentwood CA says:

    Tears today: “there are always two cups at my table” and handwritten letters. You touch so many of us in special ways. I have shared with you Susan, about the loss of my dearest girlfriend (48years this year:) on January20, 2012…..even sent you pictures of the little box she made me out of Susan Branch note cards. Big tea drinkers…both of us….always sharing a cuppa even long distance – hence the quote above from the Tang Dynasty had been used in notes by both of us. I have a small suitcase filled with her letters, cards, little drawings of holly on the envelopes at Christmastime, little extra lines of p.s. on the back of the envelopes:)….such a treasure for me. I send my grandchildren handwritten cards (often with a bit of $$inside for a treat:) and truly think that it gives me more joy in the doing – helps me stay connected in a personal way. My father had an old prayerbook from his family and one page in the front had printed rules for living that I remember reading as a child….one that always used to make me laugh….”Never write letters when the blood is hot”!!!! As an adult….not so funny….just GREAT advice. Looking forward to your England posts/pics….haven’t been back since 2008, but will be going to another visit to Ireland with my sister in May and to Northern Ireland for the first time.

    • sbranch says:

      You have lots to look forward to!! Wonderful trip! I’m so sorry, as you know, about the loss of your girlfriend. I don’t know how I will be able to stand that; but all those wonderful memories, how lucky you are to have them! xoxo

  72. Ginny Sargent - New England says:

    Susan, make sure you pack those razor blades in the suit case and not carry on if you are flying anywhere.

  73. peg says:

    Dear Sue ~ thank you so much for your wonderful post this a.m. We are also having a damp and grey Monday…perfect cookie baking weather! I will be roasting a chicken for dinner later this afternoon. You know what’s funny? I had never (ever) roasted a chicken until last fall. And one day, I decided I’d just do it (for some reason, it seemed rather complicated). Slathered in olive oil, sprinkled with freshly chopped rosemary (from the garden) and dusted with Penzey’s Mural of Flavor (wonderful and, NO salt!!!), I popped it into the oven and two hours later….we enjoyed the most amazing chicken we’d ever had! Who knew???

    I have to say, your blog about letter-writing was right on. I absloutely love to write letters….and I use fun postage stamps to jazz up the envelope. I have all the letters my mom and family members sent to me when I went to GS camp and the letters my girlfriend and I exchanged (we lived two doors apart!). We would seal them with sealing wax to ensure no one else could steam them open! I wrote the post office general a few weeks back, suggesting they develop a letter writing program that could be an activity for kids to do in the summer while on vacation. Sort of reintroducing the art of letter writing to the masses. I’m guessing that maybe this was wishful thinking on my part…..kids love to get mail (besides the hand-offs of pieces marked ‘occupant’ or ‘resident! LOL!). Thank you for helping to keep this art form in the discussion. Maybe all is not lost after all?

    You know, after a day of constant phone conversations and oodles of email, I so look forward to my afternoons…just me and Roxie and a bit of music as I do what ever it is on the docket. Heaven!

    Say hi, there to Joe…..happy packing! I can only imagine the delicious anticipation you are experiencing!!! Looking forward to hearing all about it!

    xo peg

    • sbranch says:

      Roasting a chicken, I have to agree, is one of the more satisfying cooking projects. With or without stuffing, I love the basting, the sound it makes in the oven, the smell it makes in the kitchen, and the deliciousness it makes in my mouth! Thanks Peg, we are experiencing deeeelicious anticipation. All quivery inside!

  74. Jill says:

    Susan, if you have not heard of the Susan Witting Albert Beatrix Potter books, or some other reader has not mentioned them, I highly recommend them. If you have, you know how fun-quaint-historic they are. If you haven’t, The Tale of Hilltop Farm is the first one, set in Potter’s day in the area where she lived. Animals talk, mysteries occur, Miss Potter is respected and considered odd at the same time, love happens, all just delightful. Albert has written seven in the series, each kind of building on the previous one, leading to real romance, finally, for Miss Potter. Thanks for taking us to England with you and continually inspiring us with good ideas!!

    • sbranch says:

      So many people have loved this book! It’s in my pile for the trip! Thank you!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        There are about 8 books in the series so make sure you read them in order as they kind of build on the previous ones…I really enjoyed them–checked half of them out of the library at a time and read my way through them. I was sorry when I read the last one! 🙂

  75. Lori says:

    Maybe we should write a letter to our Congressmen, instead of an email. I’m sure they like real letters, too!
    I spent my honeymoon in England and we hope to go back next summer for our 20th anniversary. Have a great time.

  76. Pat says:

    “Ring, ring”. “Mr. Congressman please don’t close my post office”. How would I get cards off to my grandchildren and packages also. I might even want to ebay something and I need a way to send a check. So please don’t close the post office”.

    I usually send a snail mail Christmas letter to my friends who don’t have computers. I still have many friends who are afraid of computers and one of my friends will not get an email address. She doesn’t want to be bothered. It would really be ashame to have the post office disappear.

    Thanks for the tips on writing a letter or post card. Have a great day today and tomorrow too!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Fed-ex or UPS would love the PO’s to be closed! That’s what we would have left … they’d probably start carrying letters. But it would cost us lots more to use them!

  77. SUSIE STEVENS says:

    Susan, My sister and I write to each other 3-5 times a week. We live 5 miles apart…she will never own a computer to do emails, so we just do snail mail. I tell her it’s good therapy to write to each other. In the winter, I find myself waiting for the postman. Smiles to all, Susie(She Junks)

  78. Marie (Williamsburg, Virginia) says:

    Dearest Sue~I especially love your post (love them all) today! I, too, love the art of letter writing. I must be honest; I’ve lapsed in that department of late, but this post has sparked my desire once again. Special letters that I’ve received over the years are bound with ribbon that have a connection to the sender. I keep my letters and cards in a pretty painted lidded box. I’m absolutely giddy about getting a letter off!

    Thanks for jump-starting my week, Susan!

    Bliss!
    Marie xo

  79. Jamie on Doty Island, WI says:

    Hi Susan-
    So glad that you are in a good mood today, because Im so sick with a cold/allergy thing, that it was a joy to read your uplifting blog which got me out of my stupor. I was so upset after reading that the government was closing down our post offices that I charged a head and wrote my representatives and told them what I thought in a polite but stern way.
    I know that post offices already have been shut down in my area and neighbors have lost their jobs. I hope everyone that reads your blog today puts a bug in their congressmens ear on how unhappy they’d be if we see the postal system collaspe. We want to see our institutions that we value get a boost not a hammering.
    Sorry dont mean to be doom and gloom its the cold talking, but very excited for you and Joe to be on your way to my favorite country…England!!! Can not wait to see all your pictures and videos.
    Best wishes on the packing…Jamie

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for the good luck wishes on Packing! I need it! 🙂 I added to the post; I put links so everyone can read more (who wants to) about what’s happening with the post offices — they’ve already closed so many in our little towns. I also put in the number of the bill coming up for debate this week in the senate … Bill #S1789 — we want this to pass!

  80. Karen Kinlaw, Spivey's Corner, NC says:

    Dear Susan, I enjoy your posts so much because I read every one like a letter. Each one is an update of your activities or a lesson or advice. And each one is appreciated. Thank you again for taking us along on your trip. I am truly looking forward to it!

  81. Mary S. says:

    Thank you for your lovely letter-writing-advice!! How I love a good, hand-written letter!! I have dozens from a friend I have had since childhood. We used to write to each other, even tho’ we lived only three houses apart, and we continued when we grew up and moved away from each other! Actually, I gave all of them back to her when her house and all her belongings burned up in a fire. I wanted her to have things to look at and remind her that she does have a past!
    Your rain sounds so lovely!! It’s already summer here in Fresno, CA 🙁
    So happy that you have a Dogwood Tree! I want one of those!!
    Love and blessings from
    Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  82. Connie Kaupe says:

    I LOVE letter writing. I usually sit down on Saturday mornings with my pot of tea, and write to my friends. I have several pen pals – some in their 80’s (I’m 43) and others my age. I have an obscenely large stationary collection too.

    I used to write an average of 10 letters per week, in college. My parents gave me back all the letters and postcards I wrote to them, and I put them in order & had it bound as a “book” for Christmas one year. My grandma used to round-Robin our letters. She would get a letter from one of her 5 kids and send it to one of the others – we do the same with email, 20 years later.

    I don’t get nearly the amount of “good mail” that I wish for, but at least I have a few friends who enjoy writing letters too. My best friend and I are trying to write a book – in letter form. Neither of us knows what will happen until we receive our letter. Patricia Wrede’s “Cecilia and the Chocolate Pot” is a delightful book based on the same principle (there are 3 – all set in Victorian England).

    I like to decorate my letters with stickers – lucky me, I still have a few Susan Branch ones left in my stash!

    Thanks for the delightful entry.
    -Connie in San Diego

  83. Miss Pat in Indiana says:

    My mother left us in 1968. Thankfully, I have some letters that she wrote to me and some recipe cards. There are pictures and some of her jewelry but the thing that brings me closest to her is her handwriting. Remember, your handwriting is unique and will be treasured someday, no matter how bad you might think it looks. Susan, the books that you autographed for me at Conner Prairie are so much more special because handwriting is so personal and you shared a tiny bit of that with me. Sorry to sound like a besotted fan, but your blogs make my day. They are a visit from a friend.

  84. Peggy Cooper from Pueblo, CO says:

    Oh I am so jealous of your rain! It never rains much here in Southern Colorado, but this year has been especially dry, and today it’s in the 80’s – and it’s just April!

    When I saw this post it reminded me of a book I read many years ago by Alexandra Stoddard. I think it was called Gift of a Letter. I know I gave it to a girlfriend along with a nice pen for Christmas that year. I don’t remember a whole lot about it now, but I do know it talks about nice writing paper and fountain pens. These can be pricey nowadays, and hard to come by. But that shouldn’t stop anyone from just writing what is in their heart, on any kind of paper, with any kind of pen, and it will be loved by the receiver.

    Yes, we do need to keep the post offices open, and cursive in our schools. Of course that would take common sense, which seems to be lacking these days – oh, don’t get me started. Anyway, thanks again for such a lovely post, and enjoy your lovely wet weather.

  85. Lin says:

    Thank you, my dear, for your hints on writing a letter. I am a chemoangel and send a card to a cancer patient once a week, and often struggle with what to tell her…….your post today helped alot! Going to bookmark it for future reference.

  86. judi says:

    Wonderful post! Just put a letter/note in the mail today. The envy started out with a fun decoration and then the front of the notecard quite lovely and then,,.,, I don’t know what happened on the inside but I was smiling/laughing all the while as my writing went in loops with stamped images inbetween. Not a “proper” card/letter but a fun one! Think the recipient will like it.

    I write often (being a cardmaker helps) and now that my best friend has just moved to CA we write each other 3- 4 times a week (and email too:)

    I count the mailman as part of our family. He is like the mother hen of this park and looks out for all of us. A real blessing.

  87. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh Susan..what a great post! I love to write letters and cards…I send some out almost every day! I told our mail lady the other day…it was job security for her..smile…. I know how exciting it is to get some personal mail…nothing better than having them in your home! But it’s great to hear your tutorial on how to write a letter…as I think you are the Queen of letter writing! lol

    Your day sounded warm & cozy (inside your home!) howeve…I loved those photos outside, that tulip was amazing! Thought it was a rose! smile….

  88. Carolyn says:

    I still love writing (and receiving) letters–nothing beats opening the mailbox and taking out a handwritten letter from a friend! I still have the funniest letters my dad sent when I was at camp or college, but made the mistake of not saving but a few of my mother’s letters. Hers were more frequent and told of the day-to-day happenings of home and community–they seemed ordinary then but how I wish I had that treasure trove now that I am older and she is gone! My mother was not a saver, but after she died it was such fun to see the letters she had saved that I had sent–and they were a wonderful window into another time. I recently made a pledge to myself that I would write a hand-written note every day. I’m not there yet but will keep it on my resolution list. And just the other day, I received the annual Christmas letter from my friend Beth–yes, Christmas! Filled with the joys of her life and family, I look forward to her special letter all year. We’ve been friends since we were 5 (with a 25 or so year gap)–what a joy to now stay in touch through letters! Thanks for sharing with us, Susan! have a most fabulous time on your trip.

  89. Judy says:

    Orange shoes?

  90. Andi M says:

    Save the postal service, yes! How wonderful for you to say so. My sister works for the post office and she becomes disappointed whenever she hears how people pay their bills online. My nana retired from the post office in 1984, I can remember her taking me with her to work when I was in elementary school and she would let me turn the crank for the cancelling machine. She had a lot of stampers there I wanted to get my hands on too. Your posts are the best. My other sister and I have taken to writing letters to stay in touch and we live just 16 miles away from each other. I save letters without letting myself think that I am. I stash them away in my cook books as book marks. I have one that my aunt sent me along with the newspaper (I hope they stay around too) clipping from the announcement of Julia Child’s death. I have lately been asking the post office workers to see the different stamps as they come in. I love the art work. Wonderful blog post, it reminded me also of the time my sister-in-law sent me earrings in a letter. Thank you again for making me feel good. I don’t know how you keep doing it. I wish I could return the favor. Have a wonderful trip across the Atlantic, Bon Voyage!

    • sbranch says:

      Read this if you have time, about the closings … And here’s another article from Rolling Stone that I found interesting. Don’t you love the new LOVE stamp — have you seen it, with the red swirls?

      • AndiM says:

        Yes, I do love the new LOVE stamps. My nana had a framed poster of the one love stamp with all the nice flowers around it hanging over her bed. I currently have the Chinese New Year dragon stamps, and the bonsai stamps as well. Thanks for the articles, I will let others read them too.

  91. Vicki says:

    Thank you so much for your kind words regarding the post office. I have been employed by the postal service for the past sixteen years. The postal facility where I work is one of the ones scheduled to close. Some of our mail is already being processed at a postal facility in another town and after May 15th, the remainder of the mail processing services will go there also.

    I appreciate your suggestion to contact representatives and heartfelt thanks to all your blog followers who have done so on our behalf.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s really happening, so quietly — they start with the small towns so we won’t notice. Breaks my heart Vicki, thank you for writing.

  92. Elizabeth in Montana says:

    I love this post and so needed some cheering up…I found out today that I have a tear in my retina, and have to have surgery on Wednesday, the same kind I had before that was probably the worst experience of my life…i’m terrified and trying to keep my mind occupied. Looking forward to reading your blog as I recover…it is a “bright spot” during cloudy days.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry Elizabeth…praying for you that it will be easier this time. The day will pass, you’ll be on the other side of it soon.

      • Elizabeth in Montana says:

        It’s probably from the car accident. Last time I had to lie facedown for five days. And I can’t read, which nearly breaks me. Hubby will read to me this time. 🙂 Once I can read, I will catch up on all your blogs!

        • sbranch says:

          Oh, that happened to a friend of mine, he had to lay face down too — for three weeks … he could see though, and built himself a periscope type of thing that had a mirror in it so he could look at the TV and around the room. I will love it when you can come back!

  93. Sandra says:

    So glad you’re getting wonderful rain; the thirsty earth is thankful. You’re so right on all your letter writing points; there’s no excuse, really, for not writing letters. It’s like everything else…gets easier with practice. Did you know that as late as the 1960’s ain’t and et (for eat) was in common usage and perfectly acceptable, especially in England? Sandra, my BFF, and I have exchanged letters for decades; such a treat when we can’t be together.
    Ahhhh, Miss Potter’s farms…what a delightful treat…blessed YOU and the quotes are especially delightful today; thanks, Miss Susan!
    Lastly, one time “you” shouldn’t be used so much is when having a disagreement.; it’s then “I” is always acceptable and preferable. Using “you” seems to escalate a disagreement and appears to focus blame…perhaps unnecessarily or unfairly.

  94. Brenda says:

    Love this! I used to write friends from my childhood for years. It was always exciting to get a letter in the mail instead of a bill. I should do this. I am excited to be going on your trip with you through blogland adventures!

  95. Sandra Davidson says:

    Dear Susan I so enjoy your blog, I just came across it about 6 months ago but I sure can’t wait to read it everyday. It takes me back to a happier less rushed time when we did all the wonderful things you do. I agree about letter writing it is a lost art. I use to love getting letters and sending them but now it is just a few words on the e-mail and not nearly as satisfying.
    I can hardly wait till you sail off so I can live vicariously through you! That is one trip I always thought I would love to take. Have a marvelous trip. Blessings Sandra

  96. Jerri Ellen says:

    Hi Susan,
    I’d like to share my letter-writing story with you. Many, many years ago I married and moved to California from Ohio. Recently, my nephew found a box filled with the letters I had written my Mother. They were stashed in an old barn on the family farm. I’m not sure how they got from the house to the barn as my Mom passed away 26 years ago. I was so touched to learn that she had saved them! My nephew was kind enough to send them to me. As I read them, it brought back memories of my younger days as a newlywed so far from home. Write letters to your loved ones and keep any you receive in turn…it is such a gift.

    Jerri
    San Juan Capistrano, CA

  97. Nancy Carreiro says:

    Dear Susan, Would love to see your luggage, do you have a big cabin with a balcony? Can’t wait for the trip. Love Nancy,

  98. Pam G. says:

    I love to write letters but have no one to write to anymore, sadly. Guess what we woke up to this morning in the Finger Lakes of NYS? SNOW!!!!!! The poor flowers-I am in mourning and the flowering trees and bushes-I hope things won’t be totally ruined.

  99. Janis says:

    Letter-writing is one of my favorite things! I have a handwritten letter from my grandmother from many years ago that I love to hold near my heart and read over and over. Writing a nice letter just leaves a little positive imprint on the world. Thank you for explaining the proper way to write a letter and how important it is. ♥

  100. Janet says:

    Great and very worthwhile post today! Some of my very favorite books have been nothing but other people’s letters to each other! Just finished “Winston and Clementine” – many of the letters Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine wrote to each other through their lives – edited by their youngest daughter Mary – from their courtship and marriage, births of their children, right through both World Wars… “Eleanor and Franklin” was excellent as well. You really get the feel for history, for the times in which they lived, the culture – and the little ordinary parts of their days, their lives too. Also recommend “The Kennedys and the Fitzgeralds” and “No Ordinary Time” – both by Doris Kearns Goodwin. For anyone who likes history and biography, you don’t want to miss them. I’ve heard more than one historian on TV say that writing biographies in the future is going to be so much harder because there won’t be letters – and very few people even THINK of saving e-mails.

    • sbranch says:

      I heard that same thing…and how about diaries! I have Benjamin Franklin’s Diary (copy of) and it’s wonderful! Anne Frank, emails? But you know what, speaking of Anne Frank, imagine if she had a computer in that little attic. The world would not have been so blind. What a world of thought that opens up.

      • Janet says:

        Excellent point, Sue. If Anne Frank had a computer… wow, can you imagine what may or may not have happened? Just got a major shiver. The Arab Spring probably never would have happened without computers either – so as with everything, we have to accept that all changes have both positive and negative aspects. I – for one however – will continue to write paper letters, cards, journals etc. The pendulum could swing back the other way somewhat and people may well realize the value of this kind of communication – hopefully before losing too much of it forever.

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