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John P. Rauls Headshot

A Hand-Written Letter: Have You Ever Heard of Them?

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HANDWRITTEN THANK YOU NOTE
Getty

Year 2114

An archaeologist and his team are excavating an old high school 100 years from now. With his rugged hands he carefully pulls ancient relics from a pile of rubble. The team gathers around to view old notebooks that, until now, the team had only heard about online. The wise archaeologist gathers the dusty notebooks from the year 1999 and transports them to the local museum for preservation. A curious student wonders what the squiggly lines mean. Is it of alien origin?

Personalized

Does this seem far-fetched? You may think I am making the case that technology is moving fast, and yes you would be correct. If you dig a little more (no pun intended), you will see that the personal attention given to the notebooks (written by hand) are my focus for this article. Has email been around long enough to convey the same intended personalized affect as a handwritten letter? I guess history will be the judge.

Officially Appropriate

What would you say is more personal: a handwritten letter or an email? If I asked a sample group of people over the age of 55, I imagine 98 percent would say a hand-written letter is more personal, and far classier! It says something far more telling about a person when they actually take the time to pull out a pen and paper and compose a personal thought. I think emails may be fast and efficient in today's world, however I imagine it depends on which generation you are from. Maybe we will eventually do a 360-degree turn back to the 1700s wax seals.

It is common practice in most schools and universities these days that most notes are all typed on a computer, and then homework is submitted to the teacher by email just minutes before the deadline. Students can get a college degree on a computer, in their PJs, and never leave their house.

Calligraphy Anyone?

For the most part pens, paper and notebooks do not have much use in today's fast paced screen tapping world. I believe too many electronic gadgets could dilute our ideas of what the written word has accomplished. Imagine what our country would be like if the Founding Fathers just sent out the Declaration of Independence as an attachment on an email?? Would an emailed version hanging on the wall of the Rotunda in Washington, D.C. have the same profound effect on us as the handwritten version?

I am not a Luddite (against technology) but I do believe we have certain cultural and educational obligations to pass on to generations to come. Whether you agree with me or not it is still thought provoking! Write someone a heartfelt letter today and see how good it makes your recipient and you feel. It's not illegal yet, is it?

jprauls@winnwoodretire.com

 
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