I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw the letter in the mailbox. My cousin had sent me a message a few days before that she had found an old letter written by my parents to hers. Would I want it? Sure, I’d replied. Her mother, my aunt, had passed away suddenly several years ago and her elderly father had recently packed up and escaped from cold Ohio to the warm climes of Florida. So, my cousin had found this letter while sorting through all the boxes that had been left behind.
I opened the envelope and saw a smaller one inside. The paper had turned yellow around the 5 cent stamp. My hands started to tremble as I took out the papers inside that were covered with my father’s neat script and two more written by my mother. The date at the top of the page was August 14, 1967. I was one month old.
It was a love letter, really. Two people crazy about a new baby – their first – and it was me! I got to travel back in time to hear the story of my birth and what it was like for them to be brand-new parents. There’s even a piece of scotch tape with some of my baby hair on the last page.
I know the written word is powerful, but there is extra power in the handwritten letter. Maybe it is the humanness of it. In this “information age” of instant messaging, voice mail, email, etc., I submit that there is still no substitute for the handwritten note.
My cousin didn’t know it, but she had mailed all this to me on my birthday. No present has ever meant so much.