Sweet Things Long Forgotten

A few days ago I told my bestie that I am thinking about deactivating my Facebook account because I am frustrated with the soul-tiring news that fills my feed. Today, I have another reason to deactivate.

Facebook stole my letters!

I spent some time this morning going through a box of letters from my (mostly) teen years. I lingered a bit with a stack of letters from my mom and siblings. I literally rolled on the floor laughing at almost every letter. I also marveled at how much memory is stored in those letters: my baby sister Dani’s tween prattling; my younger sister Angie’s (still) wry humor; my older brother Dennis’ first thoughts about California; my oldest sister Val’s daily tasks as a new mother; the squabbles between the two youngest; my mom’s instructions for how to use enclosed money; the envelope full of newspaper pages from Pope John Paul II’s visit to New Orleans.

The letters are treasures, really. Mini-histories of our family life.

I used to send a long, newsy letter to family and friends at the end or beginning of each year. The year I activated a Facebook account, that ceased. Even though I enjoyed writing the letters and selecting the top photos of the year to enclose, I stopped. I reasoned since most family and friends are on Facebook, I can share that way. But it’s surely not the same. I don’t share everything via social media. In fact, I share very little. Besides, there are still a lot of people in my family and friends circle who do not use social media at all.

Moreover.

Status updates and photos online are fun, but, 30 years from now, I don’t think it will be as rewarding to go through decades and decades of (the future equivalent of) Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram feeds as it will be to go through stacks of letters from family and friends.

So, seriously. Pick up a pen. Grab some paper and write a letter; encourage ย your parents, your siblings, your children to write as well. Write to family and life-long friends. Tell them to share the little joys of their day, their day-to-day interactions, their thoughts. Anything. Letters don’t have to be long. My mom was busy. Her letters were always short and sweet, but lovingly appreciated.

Years from now, when the cares of life burden your brain and you can barely remember which way is up, you’ll be glad for the little reminders of sweet things long forgotten.

24 thoughts on “Sweet Things Long Forgotten

  1. Christine Brooks says:

    So true. Things have changed and not all for the good. I miss letters although I have boxes of things I wish I didn’t have, it is a toss up. I have saved way too much. I will need another lifetime to go through them all. Social media is quicker but lacks the personal touch.

    • Chandra Lynn says:

      I’m starting to go through things and minimize. It’s a slow process. I miss the “old” days–when we wrote letter, had long talks on the phone, and hung out with our neighbors.

  2. franhunne4u says:

    Miss letters, too. My last regular correspondent was my aunt, but that fizzled out and stopped altogether with my father’s death (I wasn’t at the funeral, maybe she disliked that, but I did not really feel a connection with him).
    These days it is more Social Media or e-mails – there and gone. But at least I still have Postcards. ๐Ÿ™‚ Remember, that is how we “met” – online.

    • Chandra Lynn says:

      Yes. I do remember. You can’t know how many times I’ve shared your words with others. I will never forget how we met. Maybe, we blog in place of letters these days? Hmm…

      • franhunne4u says:

        Less personal, as we share our thoughts now with everybody who stumbles upon our blogs. And the comments can be read by all and sundry. A mixture between an open letter and a diary entry dragged into the modern sharing culture?

  3. Catwoods says:

    I miss having new keepsakes too! Though I probably have as many as I can store now. Social media is completely new territory in my lifetime. When it works well, it’s helped me keep up with more people than I could have otherwise. But there’s so much potential for serious conflict. And more chance it could all vanish in ways that letters and postcards do not. Great post, Chandra Lynn!

  4. mrsmotherdirt says:

    I love this post. I used to have a few friends that I would regularly write letters to. It was so touching and personal. I asked my tween step-daughter if she sticks notes in her friends lockers at school and she looked at me like I had 3 heads. Apparently they โ€˜textโ€™ each other. ๐Ÿ™„ How do you possibly pass the dribble of boring classes without writing notes of dire teenage importance to your bffs? Letters are better!

    • Chandra Lynn says:

      That’s funny. My son and his classmates still pass notes and drawings. But they’re not allowed to have their phones out during the school hours. It makes a huge difference, I suppose. And yes! Letters are soooo much better!

  5. Akilah says:

    Sweet title.

    I’ve deactivated FB before. My list is pretty well curated, so I enjoy FB. The things that seems to suck my soul is Twitter, sigh. Anyway, while I was never one for physical letters, I was much more engaged with blogging before I started using social media, which is one of the reasons I make such an effort to save things to post about on my blog–though it doesn’t always work out.

    I may start writing my daughter letters or postcards when she goes back to school. Thank you for the idea.

    • Chandra Lynn says:

      Awesome! Yes. Write her letters. She will treasure them. If you read through the comments on this post, “Ordinarily Extraordinarily Mom” commented that her mom wrote to her almost every day when she was in college. What a treasure! Priceless!

  6. M. A. Lossl says:

    This is so true. It worries me that we no longer write to each other. My historical research, has been enhanced by ancient family cards and letters, Some are over 100 years old. I think the internet is amazing, but our communication now, is ethereal and vanishes, like a ripple on a pond. How will future generations perceive us? Thank you for a great post.

    • Chandra Lynn says:

      Thank you. I do my best to get my little one to see the importance of letter writing. It is a challenge for this upcoming generation that literally cut its teeth on technology, but I’m not giving up. He will have a box of letters!

      Thank you for visiting and commenting. I’ll have to quote you in another post about the importance of letter writing–“ethreal and vanishes…”

Talk to me!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.