Letters: Doreen Frick Still Writes Them!

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I find myself writing shorter and shorter notes on Christmas cards these days. I type so much that writing longhand feels uncomfortable. It’s like my fingers have lost the art. So in honor of letter writing, I bring you a post from writer Doreen Frick, who has not lost the art at all!

Yesterday my daughter texted this: Mom, how many letters a week do you write?

 I took a quick inventory of letters awaiting stamps (5) and letters I remember sending so far this week, (6) and letters I was thinking of writing tomorrow (2) and gave her a “guesstimate” of 15.

She tread carefully, remembering the four letters she’d received in the last month, (two to her kids), because she asked me if I really thought only fifteen.After all, I have four kids, and eleven grandkiddies, and she knows I don’t email, barely text, and rarely call. I re-evaluated my correspondence (I keep track on a tablet) and decided she was right. It was more like twenty letters a week.

And in that instant, I counted the cost. Twenty letters a week, forty-seven cents each, hmmmm. How much am I spending a month on postage? Envelopes. Cards. Small packages. And in that one moment I made a decision. I will be cutting back next week to one letter. Just one.

Now I’m sure that wasn’t the real reason my daughter texted me. In fact, she likes to get my letters. And so do her kids. She texted because, as she put it,“It just dawned on me that letter writing is your ministry, Mom.”

 Thirty-eight years old, and she’s just now “getting me.”

But the real beauty of all of this is not that one of my kids finally understands me but that all these years I’ve been hoping that my friends and family will see the beauty and love I have for a hand-written letter. And that was one other thing my daughter said,

It’s nice to get a letter when all you ever really seem to get in the mail are bills.

Mission accomplished. I can let that one go now.

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Photo Top: This envelope was sent to my great-aunt in 1937. I display the envelope (with the letter tucked inside still) to remember my aunt and days gone by.

Photo Bottom: Doreen is in her mom’s arms. She writes, “My mom Mary was especially good about keeping the entire family far and wide in touch. I think it was one of her many endearing gifts, that word or two that would make someone feel so very thought about and loved and missed. It made you want to write her back.”
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About Doreen: Doreen is a writer and loves to tell a story. She’ll wake up with one and go to sleep with another. And she writes at least one letter every day to somebody.

Follow these links to read more of her work:

19 responses »

  1. Nothing like a hand written note. So much more personal than an E-mail. Of course when those hands don’t cooperate we are happy to use what ever we can. I use the computer, print the letter and send it snail mail.

    • I agree. I too type letters too and mail them. This Christmas I asked each member of my family to send me a post-it-note with a few of their “favorite things” on it. I will copy all the post-its on a copier and send the entire sheet filled with favorite things to each one as New Year’s memento. It’s fun to see their “writing” from eldest to youngest grandkid, from sisters and nieces and nephews from afar. . .

  2. Everyone has their “passions” in life, I suppose mine will always be the written word. Thanks so much for your kind comment.

  3. Or in my case, “letter-printing” since my handwriting is not the greatest, I tend to hand-print, Leanne, which is still unique, eh? Add some pretty stationery and voila! a “masterpiece” and a keepsake for someone who just needs a little uplift in life. Thanks for responding. You’re a dear.

  4. I once read a book that had the letters C.S. Lewis wrote different people. I couldn’t believe how lengthy and thought-out they were, how meaningful they must have been, and how wonderful the folks who received them were to keep and share them for this book. I think it was then it dawned on me people really do keep stuff like that. . .

  5. I can’t recall the last time I wrote a letter. I will occasionally write a note but that is it for I would say close t o a decade. Letter writing like cursive is a dying art.

  6. Cursive writing is not my style, but I love to read a letter that is in cursive. I think it takes practice, letter writing. I have friends who write letters and ask questions (which is a great way to get a reply) I don’t ask a lot of questions, I just imagine the person I’m writing to and “talk” to them on paper. Thank you for your sweet response. I tell you the stamps out there are so pretty it makes me want to send a letter.

  7. So nice to read this post. I am a huge fan of hand written letters, notes and Christmas cards! it all began when, at 15, I posted my address in a popular magazine to request pen pals. I got them from all over!! it was so much fun as friendships developed all over. Maybe even a platonic romance with a boy from Peru. I think some of these still remain at my parents home (to whom I still write letters to). I’ve tried my best to guide my kids on how to write thank you letters for gifts. Anything else, they opt for texts-if need be-email. So sad email is taking over! nothing compares to the feeling of going to the mail box and finding a letter!! news, surprises and the actual hand and spirit of someone come to you. I will keep doing this as long as I am able ! (not as often as you though) but good for you Doreen!

  8. Pen Pals, I remember doing the same thing, through our school we were each “assigned” a person our age in another country. How good of you to “remind” me of that memory! Maybe letter-writing became a way of exploring the world, eh?

  9. I am a recipient of Doreen’s mailings. Once you carefully undo the taped envelope, you just never know what treasures are packed inside. Words of encouragement, items to laugh about, regional news for enlightenment or words that hit home for a life’s lesson experiencing. Just can’t beat holding in your hand something that another person thought would make your day.

  10. Like a package in “lay-away” that somebody else pays off, when I get the chance to send a little something I figure I’m just paying back what’s been done for me, thanks Beth for your kindness.

  11. Doreen you warm my heart! I too love letter writing, pen palling and for this time of year Christmas card sending but I find sadly that my family and friends seem to prefer electronic correspondence.
    I really think it is lovely to receive a card, letter, or package in the mail so please keep doing so!

  12. What a great post that brings back all of the wonderful things about writing and receiving letters (handwritten to and from family members). My Dad used to love to write letters, and he would start each handwritten paragraph with a flourish capitol letter, just like in an old novel like “Moby Dick,” or perhaps a Charles Dickens manuscript. Each one of my Dad’s letters was in essence a “mini novel.”

    I would spend hours writing letters back to my Mom and Dad. Then, I would await a letter back from them.

    But, times have changed. Nowadays, I find that writing by emails is okay, really. And, my daughter loves to “text.” While some of our friends and family, I guess, prefer handwritten letters (not too many, though!), I say, correspondence to and from with love and good spirit should be welcome in any form! And, who doesn’t love “emoji’s”?

    SOBut, Doreen Frick, please keep up the tradition!! Your handwritten letters are SO special!

  13. You know I remember my dad wrote me too, had forgotten until your response. He knew I was sad I’d be leaving my home to move and he penned a heart-felt, lengthy letter about starting out on a new adventure, trusting, faith, and his comfort just oozed from those pages, his understanding how hard it is, and yet his belief I would be just fine. Thanks for the kind words. I so appreciate them.

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