A Love Affair with Letters

Photo Credit: AusPost Ad Campaign

I’ve always loved letters; real ones of course, on real paper written with a real pen. As a child I had various pen pals. We used to send each other stickers and cheap necklaces, cramming as much into the envelope as we could, anticipating the day when the reply would arrive; a treasure in the mailbox.

In high school, my friends and I used to write each other letters; copious sheets of A4 note paper, containing secrets about boys and folded into tiny packages to be passed discreetly beneath desks.

As email rose to power the traditional letter gradually faded like a flower, and I would hardly know how long it’s been since I received one, that is, until last night.

Church was about to start when a long-time friend of mine handed me an envelope. Accustomed to receiving various birthday invites at church, I quickly opened it, only to discover two sheets of lined paper torn out of a notebook, covered with hand written words. Even before I read it I was touched. After I read it, I was speechless. This friend had taken the time out to write me a letter of encouragement; telling me that she was thinking of me and of ways in which I had inspired and encouraged her, and she’d done it, quite intentionally, by hand.

I was reminded, once again of the beauty of this almost-lost art.

This week, why not encourage someone with a hand written letter? I’m going to.

Finding the Impossible

20130905_190506-1I didn’t know the author. I didn’t know the title. I didn’t even know what it was about. All I had was a vague memory of a picture that had an escalator in it and the knowledge that I had loved that book.

It was a children’s book that my grandparents had owned. They had a whole collection of books that they kept for us when we came over, and I remembered the names of almost all of them, except this one.

I was determined to hunt it down, but how do you find something when you have no information? I scoured Google. I even signed up (it cost me $2) to a website on which a team of people will use all their book-knowledge to try to find a book for you based on the most limited information.

The escalator page! The only thing I could vaguely remember.

The escalator page! The only semi-clear thing I could remember.

I kid you not, all I knew was that it was a children’s book that probably pre-dated the eighties, was possibly about going to work, possibly had a train station in it, and had a picture of an escalator in what was possibly a department store. Try typing that into Google!

So, imagine my elation when, after a couple of years, I found the book during a Google search. I recognized the cover immediately and wasted no time in ordering a secondhand copy.

I’m now convinced that I can find anything online!

Do you have any long-lost books that you’ve been trying to find for ages?