Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

Eleanor stands before the stack of returned letters she keeps in a small green chest. Another dear friend has passed on who never had the opportunity to read Eleanor's last letter.

Eleanor is old school and now experiences a different world with e-mail, cell phones, and texting which she finds very sad. For many years she communicated quite well with writing letters and dialing her rotary phone. At the age of 10, she spent an entire summer with her grandmother perfecting her penmanship and learning the family's art of letter writing. That summer opened her world to communication through writing great letters.

Receiving a letter from a pen pal in a distant country brought Eleanor the utmost joy. It something that she could hold in her hands and read as often as she wished. There were occasions in which a pen pal, dearest friend, or relative would arrive for a special visit. One of the most exciting pen pals was a renowned person of great royalty in another country. And she and her family were always kind enough to send letters to the sick and shut-in.

On her birthday and special occasions Eleanor always received a box of the finest linen stationary. One Christmas she received the gift of her own seal from her royal pen pal. In her young adult years, her fiance was drafted into the army and whisked off to war. She wrote him a letter almost every single day. Upon his return home, he thanked her for all of her letters, making mail call the one thing that kept him from being lonely and depressed. Of course Eleanor had saved all the letters from her fiance as well.

She taught her own children and grandchildren the art of good friendly letter writing, sharing with them some of her own letters she had received in the past. Most letters were quite long, from 10 to 15 pages, containing all of the news and information one could bring to mind. This was always different from a telephone conversation or an e-mail. When she was young there was no television or computers. Instead, many evenings were devoted to letter writing. This communication with distant friends and relatives actually kept up the current information which she thought was better than the present. With pride, she keeps her own letter archives well organized and in great condition. Some of her collections actually tell wonderful stories all by themselves.

Eleanor has continued her letter writing and penmanship even though her recipients are so few now. Now is not what it used to be due technology but just in case there is a long power failure, Eleanor has the talent and enthusiasm to sit down and write a letter or two.

This painting was inspired by

1 comment:

  1. I'm not an artist but my concept is very similar to yours--I'm thinking a collage photo made of stamped images and writing paraphenalia. And I have text,too--similar but different. Hope to post tomorrow. Would love to know what you think. Yours is fabulous and I'm so jealous that I can't paint as you do--I love the painting the most!