And since it is my 7th anniversary, allow me to repost a blog on the beauty of exchanging letters, it’s now what you call snail mail. I still look forward to these snail mails that seldom arrive on our doorstep nowadays. I wrote this more than four years ago but I still think of those friends who used to write those long, long letters. By the way, they are still kept in shoe boxes but I covered the latter with Christmas wrapping paper :)
Have you ever wondered how you were able to get by when the use of typewriters, e-mails, texts and such modern way of communication were not yet in vogue? Or shall we say, do you still find it a delight to receive something from the mail, those seemingly heart-stopping-oh-so-exciting moments when the mailman hands a letter to you addressed in bold strokes of the hand, and not just your familiar utility bills? I still do and I still get excited receiving one.
Hubby and I spent the early part of the morning cleaning our large floor to ceiling cabinets and disposing some of the things we have accumulated over the years – a big box of baby clothes, children’s dresses, jumpers, sweaters and everything a baby of a month to a child of six or seven would need. After all these years, they are pretty much still in good condition so I selected some layette, around two dozens of bird’s-eye diapers which my mom painstakingly embroidered at the edges when my two kids were born. The rest, together with some transformer toys still in their original boxes, we bundled and told the garbage collectors to give to their neighbors or to whoever would need them.
Imagine my surprise when hubby handed a big bag of old, old letters which I thought were all destroyed, with the rest of my more recent mails, by flood Ondoy last year. And I mean, they are really, really old, some of which dates as far back as 1971. “Set them aside’, I told him, “I’ll take care of those.” Most of them were addressed to me anyway. I found myself in awe of counting around three hundred or so letters from a grade school friend, from a cousin who never failed to send a postcard everywhere he docked, letters from my brother-in-law when he was assigned in the Middle East, letters from college classmates, small notes from some high school teachers, lots of postcards from different part of the globe, concert tickets during my college days, daily notes from my then best friend, and some quaint bookmarks from pen friends from Japan.
I was fascinated and I felt I found a treasure just sorting the pile. I spent the whole morning reacquainting myself with these old friends who made an impact in my young life. These are my personal treasures – living testaments on how I was as a teenager, struggling with college life and the emotional upheavals. The pain of first love, the disappointments early in life, the support and encouragement from close friends some of whom are still my friends until now, the days of sharing on what life was all about, these made me what I am today. My tears were flowing as I read some of those letters all over again – tears of joy, a big YES, tears of reminiscing the past, partly, but most of all I am glad, truly glad that these letters are still here with me after more than thirty and close to forty years.
This was from a friend who lived all the way from Aparri, Cagayan. I am just sorry that we lost touch after all these years. To think we could touch on such subjects as the values of friendship, the woes of college life, the books we have read and shared. He was a terrific writer.
I was laughing out loud while reading letters from two of my friends at the Philippine Military Academy. They were recounting their training – the jump squat, the push-up etc. They were frankly telling me how to court a girl while touring her around the campus of PMA.
I have another friend who has now migrated to Canada, and believe me, we used to write each other everyday when we were together as student librarians at the UST Main Library. Please don’t tell, but we used up a lot of date due slips for stationery. She was a little older than I am so we kind of adopted each other as the younger/older sisters. It was through her that I poured my heart out. I am glad that after 37 years, the friendship is still going strong.
I remember this, it was the first day of issue of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) stamp, the 50th anniversary of the College of Science. It was dated June 07, 1976.
Letter writing is definitely an art and I don’t mean posting and sending them via the internet, it’s the art of choosing a good stationery, composing an interesting message and writing in a style that would enthrall and fascinate the receiver. I still get excited receiving one via snail mail. There are still people out there who prefer the good old-fashioned way of letter writing. And my heart beats an unusual rhythmic sound every time I get a surprise from our Kartero. At least now, they use a motorbike instead of walking from house to house to deliver mails. They are here to stay, don’t you think?
I wish they’re here to stay. Just like holding a new book in your hands and smelling its printed pages, there is that certain thrill of receiving a letter written in long hand and delivered via snail mail.