Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Handwriting's On The Wall

Dearest Blog Readers, 

If you had told me ten years ago that I would be sending thank-you notes online I would have been insulted to the very core of my being. I have, as my mother taught me well, been a stalwart thank-you card sender for these many years. Selecting just the right card, the perfect pen, and the carefully chosen words befitting the occasion was something I took pride in. For the final personal touch, I would get out my stamp collection and, pressing it onto the pad, would leave my inky message, be it “Happy Birthday”, “Congratulations”, or “Sorry for the loss of your hamster”. This would say to the recipient: you have been constantly on my mind from the moment I drove to the card store until the moment I stood at the mailbox craning my neck to make sure the card dropped out of sight.

So it is with some regret that I find myself clicking keys instead of dipping my quill into the ink well. Okay, I don’t use a quill, but I felt that it illustrated the vast disparity of styles. Is it enough of an excuse to say, “I’m just too busy”? No, damn it, not an excuse! I still send Christmas cards, does that count? Not a bit!!! Now, I have not abandoned the handwritten note altogether as I still write them when I can find time, but when I hear people talk of how wonderful it is to receive a handwritten card, I hang my head and press “send”. 

With warmest regards and continued wishes for your good health, 


PS If any of you are struggling with the demise of this time-honoured tradition, a great way to meet it halfway is with these Jacquie Lawson e-cards, which are––in my humble opinion––the best e-cards on the web!

***Picture Happy Face Stamp here*** 

Barbara: Oh dear. This is dangerous territory for me—and by that I mean, dangerous for my guilt-factor. I have a grandmother and a great-aunt who are very precious to me, but who live on the other side of the country. Over the years, we’ve always relied on letter-writing and card-sending to keep us connected. Or rather, they’ve always relied on it—while I have struggled every time with the several steps involved: getting the card or nice paper, writing pithy details of my life, conveying how much I miss them (I truly do) without sounding like I’ve cut and pasted the same sentiment over and over into each new letter, putting the letter in the envelope, getting a stamp (we are ALWAYS out of stamps when I need to send a letter to them), and finally—and here, for some reason is the single most difficult part—MAILING IT!! I can’t tell you how many completed letters have wizened and decayed on my hall table, waiting to be sent on their way. 

My aunt finally got a computer and an email account, which was very exciting. Not as glamorous and elegant as a letter, like you say, Deb, but at least I can communicate with them on a regular basis. Now my missives get reliably sent … but I’m told my aunt never looks at her email. *sigh*


  1. My handwriting has gone to sh*t since email took the place of snail mail in my life. I used to write several long letters a week, to friends and family. Not anymore. Tap tap tap.

  2. When It comes to keeping in touch with my family I usually Write letters. Very few times have I wrote E-mails too them, just because alot of my family is older and I am told that they don't know how to E-mail.Another way that I keep in touch is by facebook, or twitter. I have come to relize that most of my family is on facebook, and I have alot of cosins on twitter, as well as good friends. I would love to see my family actually in person, but since I live in canada and they live in the USA I can't so the next best thing is letter.I Do send cards and I have used that Jacqie Lawson e-cards or the American Greeting cards they are both great things when you want to send a card for a birthday or even a thank you card.I just believe that really it dosen't matter how how you keep in touch, just as long as you do keep in touch, cause at the end of the day family is the most important thing.

    (PS: pleses check out my blog I am new to the blog world and I have worked really hard on it )

  3. i agree. it becomes harder and harder to print neatly, because we're used to the speed. sounds drastic, but is true.

    the worst part for me - with both the loss of snail mail letters and non-digital photos, is virtual/digital letters and photos don't get saved the same. I still have all the letters my sister and I traded while I was away at college. Now, all our written communication is by email and there are no saved copies. Sigh.

  4. I strongly prefer typing over handwriting because I type 90+wpm, far faster than I can write even in sloppy cursive. It's easier to keep up with my thoughts via typing. Handwriting frustrates me bigtime because I lose strings of words from my mind before I can get them down.

    I don't mind receiving any form of correspondence (including thank you notes) via email. It doesn't offend me at all. As a matter of fact, I prefer it. Cards and envelopes just become more bits of paper clutter that are thrown out more sooner than later. Whereas, I have some very sweet emails that I've kept in my archive box for a year or more. I set up a folder in my email labeled "Closet" where I store old email stuff -- kind of an electronic junk drawer. Most of my friends do birthday cards in the form of clever, funny e-cards, and I look forward to checking my email toward to end of every Dec. to find birthday mischief in my inbox. :)

    The 2 people I must correspond with via snailmail are my mother and my remaining grandmother. My dad has forbidden my mom from having a computer and email in the house (yes, you read that right -- tells you a lot about their relationship right there *sigh*). Although, to get her regular fix of grandson pictures, I've taken to uploading jpg's to Walgreen's online and having them print out at the Walgreen's down the street from her neighborhood. That saves me the postage of mailing thick envelopes down there regularly. My remaining grandmother (paternal) is very, very old school (diamonds, bridge club, and racism) and completely technologically illiterate. She wants hardcopy notes and pics to magnet up on her fridge. She's 85 so, obviously, I can't have a problem with this.

    Oh, and the above reminds me, emailing notes and pics saves postage money.

    I use the post office very little, usually just to mail gifts I've made for people. Luckily, crafts of yarn, fabric, and other fluff are lightweight for mailing. One of the gifts I traditionally get from my mom each Christmas is a roll of stamps (and a new toothbrush to be opened for use on New Year's Day, but anyway...). It would take years and years for me to use up a roll of stamps on envelopes. Usually what happens is that I've used up the whole roll roundabouts May by sticking oodles of stamps on boxes or big padded brown envelopes when I needed to send gifts. I use the stamps because it's hard to squeeze postage money for boxes out of my budget.

    Anyway, most folks I know in my mother and grandmother's generations would be appalled to receive electronic thank you notes, birthday cards, etc. Most of my friends and I wouldn't have it any other way. *shrugs* (Also, I don't send out Christmas cards anymore. Although, many people get e-cards from me every Christmas or Channukah.)

    Pretty much the only letters/cards I send out handwritten anymore are condolence notes when someone has died. However, follow-up care in the months after the initial card is in the form of phone calls and emails.

    So, anyway, here's an electronic thank you note:

    Dear Barbara and Deb,

    Thank you for your wonderful blog.

    Love and hugs,

  5. I have to agree with Gae and My K about the neatness of typing over handwriting (but I wish I had the excuse of it being from using the computer too much -- I have ALWAYS had gawdawful handwriting).

    But, Rigel, 90+ words a minute?? No wonder you can bang off your epic comments, no problem, no typos! My mind races that fast, but my typing skills, alas, are still 3-fingered clumsy follies.

    I envy you. But I also thank you for your lovely sentiment. xo

  6. And the times, they are a changin'.

  7. Personally, I gave up on E cards years ago. In fact, email altogether is a bit outdated (from the perspective of a 20-year-old who'd rather text, skype, or facebook any important information). So when I want to send a thank you note, I go for a phone call or a good old-fashioned hand-typed email. Most of my relatives have email addresses, even my dad, who's the epitome of technological neophytes. But in his case, or my mom's, I usually opt for a phone call.

    Sometimes, though, it seems like a bit of a waste that I don't hone my mediocre calligraphy skills and hand-write some letters. Ah well...

    PS I gave this fantastic blog a mention in my vlog. If you're curious:

  8. Ha, Adrienne! Email, it seems, is already only for us fogies. Both my daughters -- like you -- almost never use it, favouring text, skype, and fb.

    A dinosaur before we even fully mastered it, argh...

    And thanks for the great plug on your vlog! xo

  9. My handwriting is atrocious as well...My boss is quite fond of asking me if I'm sure I'm not missing my true a doctor.

    I'm with Adrienne on this one. For me, besides the handwriting issue, it's also a matter of speed. An email, skype message, or text reaches someone so much faster than "snail mail." However, my best friend is in training to become a U.S. Navy SEAL so for another couple of years I'll be hand writing messages to at least one person.

  10. If you like ecards, you can also check out the beautiful ecards from

    - M


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