There is something magical about a handwritten letter. Before emailing and texting became my primary forms of written communication, I used to delight in choosing just the right paper and pen, selecting the best spot for writing (usually near a sunny window), and finding the perfect words to write. I’d slow down and concentrate on the content and my legibility. When the letter was finished, I would feel quite accomplished as I neatly folded it and tucked it into a hand-addressed envelope to be mailed. Days later, I would open the mailbox to find a handwritten reply. My heart would leap inside my chest as I practically floated back to the house to open it with care and read its contents. I might add that when I look back on old letters and postcards, especially from loved ones who are no longer here, and see the unique handwriting of the authors, fond memories flood my mind and heart in a way that computer fonts cannot replicate.
For many years, I also organized pen pal activities with teacher friends in other schools to provide authentic audiences for our students. My learners would carefully write their letters, tuck them into hand-addressed envelopes, send them away, and excitedly await replies. On the day the letters would arrive, the children couldn’t wait to open them with care and read their contents. They happily shared their letters with one another. The smiles and awe on their faces were proof positive of the magic of handwritten letters.