I hope for it every time, but the actual occurrence is rare now that my mother is in heaven.
For many years, my mother wrote me a letter every Monday. At least that’s the day she mailed it; it always arrived here on Wednesday.
Mama was a letter writer. She stayed in contact with her lifelong friends and relatives chiefly by correspondence. Long distance phone calls were usually reserved for my siblings and me. For most of her life, long distance phone calls were a rarity, and were charged to one’s bill in 3 minute increments; veritable luxuries.
Until I was an adult, all calls except local ones were placed through an operator; either person-to-person (the most expensive type but the only way you were guaranteed that you wouldn’t be charged if your intended recipient wasn’t home) or station-to-station. The only times long distance calls were placed or received from our house was when there was important news (usually a death) or an impending visit. I remember one costing $2.47. Converting 1963 dollars to current values, that would be somewhere around $15.00. Even in these freewheeling days, I don’t make $15 phone calls.
We lived in the same city as my parents during the first year of our marriage, so of course, she didn’t send letters then, but I received many in the ensuing years, when we were farther apart.
I don’t know at what point I began saving them, but I’m glad I did, because just seeing one of those familiar envelopes in her handwriting makes me feel good. She had lovely penmanship and wrote chatty, friendly little missives even after macular degeneration made it difficult to write on the unlined paper she preferred.
My mother had many, many admirable qualities. One was taking the time to give of herself and making sure that a loved one had something personal in with their delivered mail.
Because isn’t that what a letter is?
A gift of our time.