Mar 13, 2011

Visit with the Log Cabin Ladies

Back in February, I was asked by my neighbor to be a guest speaker at her local club Lower Providence Log Cabin. For those of you who know me well, I'm not much of public speaker. But the friendly and welcoming women from LPLC made me feel right at home. Our agenda for this occasion was to talk about the lost art and etiquette of letter writing. It's so great to hear others talk of the importance in this long-time tradition. One woman even shared a very romantic story of love letters that were passed to and from her passed husband when he was in World War II.

At the end of our visit, I shared this poem that I found online from another letter-writing blogger. It just seemed so appropriate for the occasion.

Elegy for the Personal Letter by Allison Joseph

I miss the rumpled corners of correspondence,

the ink blots and cross-outs that show

someone lives on the other end, a person

whose hands make errors, leave traces.

I miss fine stationery, its raised elegant

lettering prominent on creamy shades of ivory

or pearl grey. I even miss hasty notes

dashed off on notebook paper, edges

ragged as their scribbled messages—

can't write much now—thinking of you.

When letters come now, they are formatted

by some distant computer, addressed

to Occupant or To the family living at—

meager greetings at best,

salutations made by a committee.

Among the glossy catalogs

and one time only offers

the bills and invoices,

letters arrive so rarely now that I drop

all other mail to the floor when

an envelope arrives and the handwriting

is actual handwriting, the return address

somewhere I can locate on any map.

So seldom is it that letters come

That I stop everything else

to identify the scrawl that has come this far—

the twist and the whirl of the letters,

the loops of the numerals. I open

those envelopes first, forgetting

the claim of any other mail,

hoping for news I could not read

in any other way but this.

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