I have always loved letters.
When I was younger I used to love, love, LOVE this book:
I can’t tell you how many times I borrowed that book out of the library. I adored it, though sadly never actually owned it. I’m not sure what I loved about it so much. Perhaps there was something exciting to me about reading letters written by people and something quite naughty about reading a letter that wasn’t addressed to me!
I was obsessed with the arrival of the mail. Although there was rarely ever post for me, I’d always be the one to collect the post, everyday with the unwavering hope that there would be something for me. Even to this day, I feel a sadness when there are no letters for me.
As I grew up, my sister and I used to play what we fondly called “The Letter Game”. We rigged up all sorts of contraptions to deliver mail to each other from one bunk bed to the other (we seemed to favour a “pully-cord” method, made from scraps of our Nan’s yarn). We would spend hours writing each other letters, creating word searches and games for one another. My sister, the comedian that she is, liked to include a joke, whilst I always sent a positive thought.
“The Letter Game” developed to writing letters to close school friends at school. Back then there was no option to email your friends, keep in touch via Facebook or even chat via text or MSN Messenger. I spent hours pouring over letters from my friends and writing back to them. A friend, Katie and I had a notebook which we passed back and forth between us. I think these letters are all still in the loft at my Mum and Dad’s. Next time I’m back there, I must try and get them down. I would LOVE to see what rubbish we used to talk to each other, which obviously at the time was the most important thing on earth.
I also started writing to my cousin, Emma, around about this time. My Aunt, Uncle and cousins lived about 1.5 hours away and we didn’t really see much of each other. So we used to write to each other, creating our own magazines to send with the letters!
An actual Pen Pal though, that was something I never had the pleasure of. The closest I got was with my German Exchange partner, Daniela, at 13 years old. She was 16 though and our age gap was likely responsible for our written friendship fizzling out with just one or two letters after I visited her in Germany.
This is why the fact that I, Joanna Livermore, am about to acquire two fabulous Pen Pals is such an amazing thing. I’m so excited about making two new friends, but also have so much excitement about both writing and receiving beautiful, handwritten letters.
The art of writing a letter seems to have died a death in the face of social media and digital means of communicating, but I really want to bring it back to life!