Tuesday, June 21, 2011


The earliest letter I had from my cousin was when she was in second grade, so I must have been about 6 myself. Those early exchanges consisted of so few sentences that they probably scarcely justified a stamp (even though it was only 25cents!).
When I was 7, her family visited ours, and I remember spending half the week creating a secret language together which we subsequently used in our letters.
We wrote regularly--usually exchanging every month or so--until we both got to college. During high school our letters regularly reached 2-3 full pages (mine handwritten on college-ruled paper, hers typed). In college the letters slowed, and gradually transferred to sporadic emailing. But for over a decade we had written regularly.

By middle school I had two other pen-pals as well, and while the letter exchanges with them were never as frequent as with my cousin, we still wrote for years.

In high school I began corresponding with another cousin. He was my first male correspondent, and I don't know if it was a product of age or maturity or what, but we were both shy and writing to each other not only gave us a source for mutual encouragement in that matter (and a resource for trying to begin to understand the opposite sex!), but also gave us a chance to get to know each other. We had always lived several states apart, and had never really gotten to know each other. Those letters continued sporadically though his foreign mission (those 80 cent stamps got expensive, not to mention the slow transit time for international mail).

Through high school and college I kept a journal too. A lengthy, rambling, emotionally volatile thing. I still have those volumes, though I'm not certain what good they are doing me. I shared them with my husband when we were engaged, but he didn't get very far through them...they are just too loooong.

While I was in college I wrote faithfully for over a year to a dear friend on his mission. He was serving within the United States, and we exchanged letters weekly. The letters were long, often several typewritten pages. I remember perfuming one so that he could brag to his companion about it. My roommate was also writing to a missionary, but he did not write nearly so often, and I often hid my letters from her to spare here feelings because she always got depressed that I got more (and better) letters than she did. This missionary and I had started as just friends, but over the months and letter by letter we became very close. The timing was such that I ended up getting engaged before he came home, but had I not, I am sure I'd have dated him when he got home, and I would likely have married him.

My husband and I met online, and for 8 or 9 months we had a long-distance relationship. Even the first two months of our engagement were long-distance. We had lots of late night phone calls and instant-messaging conversations, but we also wrote emails. 

I don't maintain very regular correspondence with anyone now. My family all emails each other fairly regularly. Each of my siblings has served foreign missions and been allowed the use of email, so there's a weekly email from whomever is on a mission, and both of my parents write most weeks. One of my sisters (or her husband) still sends a family email every week, just like when she was on the mission.

A lot of my thoughts end up on my blog now, rather than in personal letters or in a journal. But writing continues to be a regular part of my life. I am glad that it is so.☺

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