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The Suburbanite
  • King's View: Traditional Communication

  • R U going 2?

    B there B4 me.

    Already 8 2 much 2day.That’s not communication the way we grew up knowing it. That’s some kind of sign language – poor hieroglyphics, if you will – that gives English teachers headaches.


    Someday soon, may a handwritten letter addressed to you – and you alone – arrive in your mailbox...

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  • We live, of course, in a fast-paced, electronic world where every second counts – or so it’s thought.
    Messages are sent to us with lightning-quick speed in a manner that allows us to read them in lightning-quick fashion and in turn take lightning-quick action.
    R U going 2?
    B there B4 me.
    Already 8 2 much 2day.That’s not communication the way we grew up knowing it. That’s some kind of sign language – poor hieroglyphics, if you will – that gives English teachers headaches.
    But not all of us are participating in this New World order.
    Some have clutched tightly to the ways of the past, and for that, the traditionalists – like me – are oh, so thankful.
    One such local resident whom I’ve known for many years, was a longtime teacher at a Suburbanite area school but is now retired and in her 80s. Every once in a while, she will comment to me on something I’ve written in the paper, not in the abstract language of today, but rather in a handwritten letter.
    She doesn’t print the words, either, but writes in cursive. In complete sentences.
    With subject and verb agreement. Correct spelling. And perfect capitalization.
    I value her opinion so much and appreciate her kind words. It is an inspiration to know that someone as smart, experienced and well-versed in the world as she would have something favorable to say about my work.
    But as much as all that means to me – and it means a lot, more than she could ever know – what’s even more special is how her message is delivered – the time and effort it took to coordinate her many thoughts in such an eloquent manner.
    Most days when you go to the mailbox, there is little left after you sort through the bills and junk mail. And what remains is nothing to make you smile even a little bit – and certainly not anything to give you the kind of smile that warms you to your heart and soul and stays with you for the longest time.
    Then, out of the blue, will come one of her letters, and suddenly the day, no matter how badly it may be going to that point, is transformed into one of brightness and sunshine with only positive vibes.
    Because no one converses like this anymore, her letters are like objects from the distant past that have somehow rocketed through a hole in the time continuum, tumbled out of the sky and into the present day, standing out like a bonnet, a derby hat, a high-collared, long, flowing dress, a timepiece on a chain and a horse and carriage would stand out from a sun visor, capris, flip-flops, tank tops and a hybrid car.
    Page 2 of 2 - These letters are like the handwritten birthday cards you used to get in the mail as a kid from your grandmother or great aunt – the ones you couldn’t wait to open.
    Indeed, the words are not formed with the perfect penmanship by which you would teach a child to write. The words are written by someone who has spent a few years on this earth and has the well-worn, experienced, sure and sturdy hands that have raised a lot of her own kids and taught thousands of other people’s children. She has cooked a lot of meals, darned a pile of socks so tall it would reach to the rooftop, wiped away so many tears from cheeks you can’t count them all, pointed out things that no one else saw, caressed the shoulders of the forlorn, gently and carefully turned the pages of great works of literature and maybe even the funnies from time to time. She has cumulatively picked up more weight than could 10,000 men in the form of pots and pans, forks and spoons, dishes and plates, cups and saucers and napkins and napkins and napkins, and never, ever forgot how to write letters the way they should forever be written.
    When you read “Sincerely” and her signature at the bottom, you realized you’ve done much more than just read a letter. You’ve also been allowed to step out of the hustle, bustle and rapid-fire pace of the world and into your own little haven, where it is so quiet, soothing, peaceful, enriching and rewarding that, when you get done, you have the renewed energy, hope, optimism and enthusiasm to carry forth and deal with whatever life throws at you once the door into 2012 has been propped open again and you jump back into the rat race.
    Someday soon, may a handwritten letter addressed to you – and you alone – arrive in your mailbox, and if you’re lucky enough for that to happen, may you also have the time right then and there to read it, enjoy it and absorb its full goodness over the din of all those electronic devices that, when you get right down to it, just don’t – and can’t ever – measure up to the real McCoy.