In the News
Deliver da Letter©
Those astute long time readers of this column will remember that I subscribed a couple years ago to the Saturday Evening Post because I thought it might provide a source of interesting nostalgia for you folks. Well, this column is inspired by a piece by Ed Dwyer from the Jan-Feb, 2021 edition of the Post; his piece is entitled "Wait a Minute, Mr. Postman".
The title immediately grabbed my attention and drew me in! It alludes of course to a 1961 Motown hit by the Marvelettes called "Please Mr. Postman", notable as the first Motown song to reach the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart. The single achieved this position in late 1961, the year I graduated High School which may explain why it's burned into my consciousness.
The point of the piece is to lament the rise of digital communication and the demise of handwritten letters written with real pen and ink on real stationary. The first couple paragraphs will give you a feel for what he is trying to say:
"This afternoon our postman paid his daily visit, and once again he delivered disappointment. In the mailbox, I found the predictable batch of credit card bills, solicitations from a half-dozen charities, a catalogue, a Medicare supplement statement, and several pizzeria menus.
You would think by now I’d know better than to be disappointed, but I suffer from an abiding nostalgia for the days of yore when I might discover an unexpected, handwritten, hand-addressed, just-for-me missive amid all the junk mail and form letters. It might be a postcard from friends on vacation, a thank-you note, or perhaps just a simple I’m-thinking-of-you greeting. I miss the days when people used stationery purchased at a local stationery store, and everyone had at least one quality fountain pen, say a Cross or a Parker, that they used and cherished.
In other words, the days before email."
The point of Ed Dwyer's piece is so true. In fact, I've heard that some schools don't even teach cursive handwriting anymore because it is so outdated in this day of computers and keyboards (but what happens if the power goes off for a long, long time)? Do any of you remember the days when our school desks actually had ink wells in them? I do, in my 4th grade class with Miss Robertson, we all had our own ink well in our desk, and if I remember correctly she actually tried to teach us how to load a fountain pen and write with one! But I never dipped any girls' pigtails into my inkwell as I was told some of my uncles did.
As I have said before in this column, I think we grew up in "The Golden age of our culture". Of course there were other times a s well. In fact, when my wife and I read a Thomas Jefferson biography last year we were both taken by his prolific letter writing, including to his grandchildren. In fact, he even invented a pantograph so he could make copies of his letters while he was writing them!
So what should we do to preserve this marvelous piece of memorabilia for our grandkids? If you still have some, get out some stationary, and a real fountain pen (a ballpoint will substitute if you have to) and jot off a real letter in your very best cursive to that long lost friend you've been meaning to write or to one of your grandchildren. After reading the Jefferson book, I wrote all my grandchildren separate personalized letters; my daughter-in-law said she was going to keep them as memorabilia for her daughters.
You might even pull up a copy of the Marvelettes to listen to while you write. But, WARNING: you won't get that song out of your head for days after listening!
Thanks for reading All About Seniors.....see you next week
Bill Milby, CSA, is a Certified Senior Advisor and a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or search for us at www.facebook.com/VisitingAngelsofCentralGA/
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