First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has ever read this blog: regular followers, fellow bloggers and occasional visitors. Today my total number of views, across 70 countries in the world, has just topped 10,000 which makes me very happy! This is small fry compared with some of the established bloggers out there but I’m just someone who likes writing and has some memories I enjoy sharing.
I have always loved writing letters. I love receiving them too. Letter writing is now more or less disappearing. How often do we get mail arriving with a handwritten envelope unless it’s a birthday or Christmas? Of course, we can still enjoy communicating with people. I still take pleasure in sending and receiving emails and text messages to all my contacts. A new personal email showing up in my Inbox is almost as exciting as hearing an expected letter drop through the letter-box. Almost – but not quite.
These are some of the things I enjoyed about sending and receiving letters.
First of all it was the very fact that you were communicating on a personal level with someone you cared about who was not living nearby. When I was a teenager I had pen friends, arranged by my school, in other countries. I also exchanged letters with grandparents. My paternal grandfather and I used to write letters in Welsh to each other. Welsh was my second language and his first language and I used to like improving my written Welsh by writing to him. He had always loved writing letters too. I have an old leather writing case which was his when he was alive. I also have my red leather writing case which my parents bought me one Christmas. I adored it! I exchanged letters with a few school friends who had moved away and with a very close friend who went away to boarding school. We are still good friends and I’m sure our term-time letter writing ensured that our primary school friendship survived our teenage years in separate schools.
Secondly, I took great pleasure in the materials involved. I loved my fountain pen and was particular about the make and shade of ink I bought – when I was a teenager I preferred Parker’s Quink in blue and as I grew older I favoured blue-black.
The paper was just as important. I absolutely loved spending some pocket money on a new writing pad and matching envelopes. I could never afford the very best but I didn’t like buying cheap and flimsy either.
As I had pen-friends (two in America and one in France) I also had to buy the extra-lightweight airmail paper and the envelopes with the red and blue stripes around the edge.
Two more things which have changed. When we addressed envelopes then we wrote the name and address on a slant like this
and then at some point it became
We didn’t have any postcodes when I was a child. Although there had been some postcodes in existence before, the codes as we know them were introduced in 1967 and released in stages until 1974. It was some time before they were used as automatically as we use them now.
Disclaimer: As always, photos are mostly courtesy of Google Images. If anyone objects to my use of a particular photo or believes it infringes copyright, please contact me and I will remove it.