The death of literacy

In the process of doing my project for work I’ve had occasion to read some people’s personal correspondence from the first half of this century.  It’s been fun for me, and it’s also just gotten to me how much more literate people were back then.  They wrote to tell each other of this and that.  Not emails, but personal, handwritten letters.  That took time and care and had a physical romantic quality about them that no email can touch.

There was one set of letters that especially touched me, a set of letters between two teenage college students from the late 1930s.  It was funny, it was flirtatious, it was teasing, it was touching, and with a few exceptions would completely pass as correspondence between intelligent modern teenagers.  That is, if teenagers today knew how to fuckin’ write.

It makes me want to write a letter to my wife, like we used to back when we were carrying on our tortured long-distance relationship.  And mail it from work to my house across town, who gives a shit?  It would be a fun surprise.

Now here’s hoping she doesn’t see this blog before I can actually get that done…

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One Response

  1. We found some letters from my husband’s father to his mother written while he was serving in WWII (Europe). Priceless.

    Write the letter (if you haven’t already).

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