When I was a child, I had a pen pal. Her name was Bridgette and she lived in Antwerp, Belgium. We traded many letters about our lives and even shared photos with each other.
I also wrote letters to friends and family who lived too far away to see on a regular basis and continued to do this into my adult years. For a matter-of-fact, when hubby and I started dating, he was home on leave from Germany. Our courtship with via letters and some phone calls. We discovered that it was a remarkable way to learn about each other and deepen our relationship.
Letter writing, it seems, is now something to be added to the history books.
Correspondence via hand-written notes sent thru the postal service has been replaced with email and social media.
Sadly, paper photographs seem to be headed into history as well. Photos are uploaded from smart phones and cameras onto computers and archived into folders. Photo albums, unfilled with memories from vacations, parties and holidays collect dust on shelves.
It’s not that email and social media is a bad thing, but it is sad to think that my children have not experienced the joy of receiving regular letters in the mail. They have not lived the excitement of opening an envelope to learn about someone’s life in another country. They have not shared their lives, via letters, with a friend or cousin who lives in another state. They will one day have the letter that hubby and I wrote to each other during our courtship. They will have letters that I wrote to my pen pal. They will have letters written by their grandparents. They will have photo albums with pictures dating back to the 1940’s. They will be able to physically touch history – their history.
How is it, that we have decided that our future history should be in electronic form?
Why has letter writing and the creation of family photo albums taken a back seat to modern technologies?
Why shouldn’t my children and their children and their children’s children have those experiences and be able to physically though their own history for generations to come?
So much can be learned from letters, cards, notes and photographs. So much can be shared as we sit with our children reading thru those letters and photo albums. We can see, smell and touch the paper that was once held in the hands of our grandmother or great-grandmother.
I don’t believe that history via technology can truly replace the personal touch of a hand-written letter or a photograph so carefully selected and placed in a photo album that future generations can share.
I think it’s time to put some of the technology aside and allow my children to experience their family history. It’s time to let them begin to create their own future history for their children and their children’s children.