|via liz west|
But it is incredibly hard for me to throw away letters.
I have a bunch of letters stored away in big envelopes—I found them cleaning out my room the other day, and took a few minutes to reread them. It’s no hard thing to get rid of the cards people just sign (Pro Tip: write an actual message under the card’s inscription, not just your name; it feels a lot more personal, even if it’s only a sentence or two). Other times, not so much…
I found letters with my Pen Pal from elementary school, and a birthday card from a friend I had moved away from. I think I have every birthday card my best friend has ever made me (which only serves to remind me that I never get her one; it is a good thing our friendship is not based off of my gift-giving skills). Things from grandparents, short notes from my mom that she put in my lunchbox. I found letters I wrote to myself, to give my future self a reminder of my past.
And I found letters my dad would write to me before I went to camp. I can remember the excitement of opening the letters he packed for me—usually one for every night. Every night I would spend time reading the words I knew he had written just for me, and share the jokes he enclosed. He enclosed so many jokes. Like, the majority of the letters were jokes—but that’s okay, because they still made me laugh and smile.
My dad made me laugh, but I think he put a lot into those letters I didn’t truly appreciate until now. I mean, I only just learned about Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke after taking economics, so when he brought them up I didn’t understand as well as I do now. But other things—an interest in talking about the stock market, always wanting to tell me the truth, and again, making me laugh and wanting me to be happy.
I think that’s why I have such a hard time throwing letters away. Some letters made me smile, and others made me tear up, but all of them seemed to do the same thing: they gave tangible evidence that someone loves me. Me.
Writing can do a lot of things for us—it can tell a story, tell us that the rent is due, record a recipe, and a multitude of other things. But my favorite thing about letters, paper letters with ink and writing and stickers and pictures and stamps, is that they say so much more than the words written on them.