A Good Home, Writing letters

The Letters

I have written many letters to which no-one ever replied.

Not email letters. Real letters.

It’s frustrating, I tell you, and enough to make a person pledge to never send another letter. Why bother, when these people either don’t care or lack the manners to acknowledge my effort?

I don’t expect replies to greeting cards and I’d never think of asking if they were received. It’s enough to know that I sent them. 

Blog Photo - Greeting card Thank you

Close friends and relatives get affectionate birthday cards, ones that may contain the word “special” or “love”, or “the gift of friendship”.  Humorous cards are only for close relatives or other people I know very, very well.

Blog Photo - Greeting Card - Peonies

But letters: they’re a whole different matter. Letters require more thought, more effort, more time. One has to think what news to respond to, what worries the person last confided, what wishes and needs were expressed.  

So I settle down and write. 

And there I am, weeks later, months later, wondering why I never heard back.

If I’m concerned enough, I will check with the guilty party.

“Did you get my letter?”

I am always shocked when the answer is: “No. When did you send it?”

And there’s the rub. I can’t actually pinpoint when. Can’t remember when I addressed and stamped the envelope then walked to the mailbox to post it.

What I remember is writing the letter. It’s mentioned right there in my journal, for heaven’s sake! I wrote it.

Blog Photo - Greeting Card - Caribbean House and chickens

And those cards had been sent.


The truth revealed itself gradually, while I was doing that thing I hate: cleaning up my office and putting papers away. Opening boxes and large envelopes jam-packed with bits of paper and whole documents, many having only the most general connection.

An old receipt for gas. Don’t ask why. I don’t know.

An even older greeting card, kept for sentimental reasons.

A letter of reference from a former boss lies under a theatre programme.

It’s a collection of this, that and what-nots, evidence of a disorganized mind.

Blog Photo - Greeting Card - Market scene

And then I spy…

I don’t believe it.

A greeting card I’d carefully chosen, written in, addressed and stamped.

And then — there are more. Three more.  

Blog Photo - Greeting Card - Happy birthday

The get-well wish, the celebration of success, the expression of heartfelt condolence.

Four cards, never sent.

Blog Photo - Greeting Card - Faith

And then I saw the letters.

Several of them, thoughtfully handwritten, two pages or three long.  

Never stamped, never taken to the mailbox.


It gets worse. 

One day I caught myself writing a letter in my head.  And realized I’d probably done this with other letters before.

Written them, yes, but only in my mind.




38 thoughts on “The Letters”

  1. You are not alone in this. Horror of horrors I found two thank you notes that I had written last year. They were addressed and stamped, but never mailed. I haven’t decided what to do with them. Send them a year later? Call and apologize for never thanking those who took the time to send a gift? Pretend I never found the cards?

  2. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” comes to mind! What a lovely, humble (in the best sense!) story!

  3. Oops! Well, this does bring up interesting questions. Thankfully, I haven’t done this yet, at least that I remember. I rarely write handwritten letters or cards anymore. Kudos to you Cynthia for still writing them, even if only in your mind. 🙂

  4. Love this tale of an essential aspect of the human condition! I read it out to my Mum and we both agreed how well we could relate! X

  5. So many topics here. I can definitely relate to misplacing something because I’ve been looking for two things for the last couple of days. 🙂 I would love to write a letter to someone, but at this point I don’t really know anyone who’d enjoy it. Most folks just want a text. The written item I miss the most is the thank you note for a gift. 🙂

  6. Ooops! Never happened to me so far but I’m glad to know there are still people out there who DO hand-write letters and cards as I’m one of them too. Think we’re a threatened species though. Hope all is well with you x

  7. As someone who was brought up to appreciate the importance of writing personal letters and having written ‘home’ to my Mother virtually my entire life, I too, still write letters in my mind, Cynthia — and, of greater concern, sometimes worry that I have not yet received a reply!

  8. Thanks for this mornings smile. I wish I had an accounting of all of the gifts I’ve purchased and never wrapped or sent, gift cards that never got used or handed out , letters written (some even addressed and stamped) but never sent. You would think the hard part would be the buying or writing or wrapping, but it’s getting it in the mail box or to the post office. (That is probably why places that ship are among my favorite sources for gifts.)

  9. Oh gosh! At least you have an explanation for those missing replies. And you’ve found those missing letters! Please don’t give up on writing them; I consider it a privilege to receive a letter these days. Maybe just avoid putting them back on the desk when they stamped and ready to go! 😁

  10. I feel for you Cynthia. I have done this with cards. Or worse bought the card and never got around to writing it!!!

  11. Oh, poor you! How brave of you to confess! If it were me I might put the written cards and letters in another envelope with covering notes and send them off. And hope for the best. xx

  12. In the past , Cynthia, writing a letter was a pleasure . People wrote carefully wonderful writings without any mistakes. Nowadays with the success of the smartphone people lost the taste to write whatever it is : letter or letter- shaped e;mail.
    I found again recently a lot of letters coming from all the family members in 1957 ; those precious letters sent to me at a hard time of my life expressed love but also the social life at this time . they make this time live again.
    Love ❤

  13. There is something about the handwritten letter that conveys far more of the person than a typed email. I have become lazy in that department, with assistance of the computer. I am glad you still write them, even if only in your head! 🙂

  14. You get credit writing them, Cynthia! At least they weren’t bills you forgot to pay. So far I have not failed to mail cards or letters. When I have something to mail, I immediately put it on a small tray in the entrance so I will remember to take it out to the mailbox or post office. I have saved many letters. There is something about the hand-written word. I still write a few letters or at least enclose a hand-written note,

    Keep writing…even in your head!

  15. You must find a writing desk, dedicated to writing, signing, addressing envelops and adhering stamps! Keep the process in one place… So, 19th century. I’m quite comfortable there. – Oscar

  16. How frustrating it must have been to find all those cards you believed you sent. I know I would be. The letters you wrote in your mind? Now that’s just a little funny, because I can see me doing that as well … So many conversations I have in my head, and rather than jotting down notes, I’m sure I’ll remember when I see the person. Or will I? 😀

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