When I was growing up the only way of communication was through the post.As my father was posted to various stated in India, our family could only communicate through letters.
I remember the postman would arrive at the gates and the servant will collect the mail, and then it will be arranged on a silver tray and brought upstairs to us. Where my father will sort them out. My mother was a prolific writer. she wrote long letters. As she was the eldest of five sisters,and also had many nieces and nephews, her share of the mail was the biggest. I remember her settling down in her favourite chair,with a silver letter opener, a look of delightful anticipation on her face and spend an hour or so,reading her mail. And then she would open her writing desk, one of those pull out one,where she kept some very fine writing paper and matching envelopes,and two or three types of fountain pens,and then she will settle down to reply to them all.
I started to write letters from an early age. But I enjoyed receiving and reading them more than the actual writing. I loved the way some people turned a letter into a conversation. One of my aunt wrote regularly to me,her letters contained gossip and all the news of the family and the neighbourhood. She had a knack of describing them and I really enjoyed reading those.
After coming to England,I used to get regular letters from the family. My father wrote beautifully, his letters will have comments on politics and world affairs as well as family news. And my mother wrote about all the family gossip. Those pale blue air mail envelopes were a delight,and they kept coming every ten days or so,and brightened my life.That was the only way of keeping in touch, phone calls were reserved for birthdays or Christmas,or the new year.
Those days there was no direct dialling abroad and it was expensive to phone. And then gradually the costs came down and we spoke on the phone more often and the letters became less frequent. And once email started, all my younger relatives now a days communicate electronically.
Alas now that my parents are no more I do not get any letters. All I get in the post is bills, charity demands and things selling me from cure for baldness,to funeral arrangements.
I do not look forward to the arrival of the postman.
I very much miss writing and receiving letters,despite the ease of electronic communication. Am I alone and rather sad I wonder.
I oftenwonder if anyone even writes love letters these days or is it done by email and twitter!