Within the last two months, my husband Bert has renewed his association with something he’s been enamored with since Vietnam, the fountain pen. I smiled as he gifted me with the first pen (“fountain” is now to be understood) I’ve had in my hands for years, and as I began to refresh my penmanship with this pen, a flood of memories accompanied that gift.
You see letter writing was the cradle that rocked Bert and me into a beautifully loving relationship. We had met the night my boss dragged me out to a talk Bert and his partner were giving on a speaking tour. I didn’t want to go anywhere that cold, rainy night. I didn’t want to be there. So I sat far back in the crowd waiting until the talk was over. Then a small group decided to go out to supper with the speakers, something Bert rarely did, he told me years later. I had to go along because my ride was among them. I again sat as far from the crowd as I could to at least have quiet, if not my cozy book at home. But who should wander down and sit across from me but Bert. Our conversation that night centered on him being a Vietnam vet and me a war protestor as small talk had never been my deal. It was an extraordinary exchange, and from it, we decided to correspond with each other, as we had so much more to explore. Thus began a letter writing campaign that moved through exploring the war, to sharing our values and philosophies to the recognition that we had each found in one another a great love.
We filled 7 ½ journals; my Virgo husband-to-be coming up with a system where we each had one to write in and one always in the mail enroute. Our pens flowed, our thoughts flowed with them and then our loved flowed through it all. We wrote for 3 ½ years before we saw each other again, but the power of the pen sustained us, kept us in touch as ink flowed onto paper; for thoughts and ideas have a life of their own, a power to effect that appears to be enlivened by the act of writing them down.
Email is there, along with all the social media that exists and it has a place in 21st century communication. But don’t ever fool yourself. Nothing will ever replace the power of a handwritten letter to connect and maintain relationships or to be an emissary of truth or love.
Life is about connection. Come join Corresponding Writers and put some meaningful exchange, wit and friendship back into your life, through our mutual regard for handwritten letters.