I was sorting through set of drawers in the spare room and came across a whole pile of old letters which I had kept and tucked away. I knew they were there, of course, but it had slipped my mind. So you can imagine just how long it took to sort through them, and then, decide just what I was going to do with them all. Shall I keep them, or toss them out? What did I find? A whole swag of letters from two elderly aunts, one has since passed on and the other one is now in a rest home. There were half a dozen huge epistles sent from my friend in Dunedin. She used to start writing a letter, lose it, find it again weeks later, and just carry on where she left off. I found letters from my sister, and from my son when he left home to go to Uni, and he carried on writing the occasional letter to his Mum when he moved to Auckland. My daughter was a much more prolific letter writer and wrote very regularly when she was a young stay-at-home young mother.
I’ve decided to keep the letters from my two children and have put them away safe and sound in a box. They others I will let go after I have re-read them. So what have I learned from all this tidying up? That the power of a letter is very strong. In these days of e-mails, texts and quick calls, there is nothing like a “real” letter. There is absolute joy of finding a letter from a loved one in the post box, which can be savoured and read again. I decided to sit down and write to my elderly aunt, as her days in the rest home are no doubt very long, and a letter could well brighten her day. I will also write a proper letter to my sister, and my two children instead of making contact by phone or email. Hopefully they will get as much pleasure receiving their mail as I get by putting my thoughts on paper.