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Monday, March 18, 2013 9:04 AM


As I sat down to write this article this morning, I was distracted by my surroundings. First was the beauty of what I could see. Blue water in every direction, a warm sun with lots of pelicans and seagulls to serenade me. The sun was on the horizon like a gigantic  beach  ball.  Yes I am sitting in the Florida Keys lapping up some sunshine.


Then came a sound I find annoying. It was the sound of cellphones ringing and the clickity clack and tones of the keys used to text. Sure it was nice for our family to keep in touch with us while we were away on vacation but how much of the words back and forth were really of any importance.


Yes, I know I am sounding old fashioned but I truly think we are losing both an art form and a great deal of history. Sociologists and historians have studied the personal letters of people for thousands of years. Do you think that emails and texts will be kept for posterity? Will future generations understand the OMG, LOL, :-) or emoticons? Are those expressions a true representation of the culture of the 21st Century? So many aspects of our lives are dying off. I can remember how important a changing from hardcover books to paperbacks. Now with the invention of the Kindle & Nook we don’t even have to publish books. Even the Delphos Public Library has it set up that you can download books without even stepping inside a library.

But let us get back to letters. I remember going to college 600 miles away from home. Getting home for a weekend or for a family event was just not possible. Sure flying from Columbus Ohio to New York City was an alternative but the cost and availability of flights were big barriers. So I relied on the US Mail.

There wasn’t a one of us at school that didn’t know what time the mail was ready in our boxes in the Student Union. Those letters from Mom and Dad and the friends scattered across the country were like gems. Did you ever read a letter more than once? Did you savor over the “I love yous” and the “I miss you so much”? How about on the back side of the envelope the SWAK…sealed with a kiss. I can recall watching people sniff an envelope even before they opened it. How does your iPhone, tablet, or computer smell?

It kind of reminds me of being a kid at home when the newspaper was delivered. We’d take the paper apart just to read the comics. You do remember newspapers, don’t you. I would normally say it’s that piece of paper you are presently holding in your hand but that might not be true since this newspaper comes out on the internet as well. At least you don’t have to worry about the dog eating your paper that way. Speaking of newspapers, while in college I used to love to read Russell Baker’s column in the New York Times. My father would cut out the articles and send them to me. Many of the kids had their hometown newspapers sent to school so that they could keep in touch with home.

But for me one of the treats I had was going up into the attic and finding in an old trunk the letters my Dad and Mom wrote during World War II. I hadn’t even been thought of at that point yet there I was as a teenager sitting and reading letter after letter that they both saved describing how they felt, their fears, their desires, their hopes and dreams. This isn’t fiction, it isn’t a TV show and the letters certainly didn’t contain acronyms and emoticons.

You want to learn more about what people find important? Listen to the lyrics of their songs. Oh well, I guess I will just have to sit right down and write myself a letter….


Last Updated on Monday, March 18, 2013 9:33 AM

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