How sad that letter-writing is in danger of dying out

Steve's baby daughter made amazing progress this week, or so his wife thought

STEVE CANAVAN: It was a lot of rattle over just a little roll

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Ashley Harley

I find it all really rather dismal. Technology is to blame, as children these days mostly use e-mail, text messages and social networking through Facebook and Whatsapp,

At school we were encouraged to have penpals in different countries to correspond with

Research has shown that one-in-10 schoolchildren have never written a letter by hand and, shockingly, one-third of teenagers have failed to put pen to paper in more than a year.

As a child I loved writing letters and my parents always insisted I gave handwritten letters of thanks to relatives and friends for gifts and cards I’d received for birthdays and Christmas.

I was never without a pad of Basildon Bond notepaper or a box of pretty decorated notelets for those special folks who sent me presents.

At school I frequently had to stay for dinner as my mum often worked in Southsea and my nan, bless her, used to send me back seaside postcards with a message scrawled on the back,

I still have them now and they have great sentimental value as she is no longer with us.

At school we were encouraged to have penpals in different countries to correspond with. I had one in Finland and another in Australia and their letters gave me a valuable insight into what their country was like and how they lived.

I still send them a card at Christmas all these years later.

I love the romance of reading on paper. It opens a window to the soul in a way that cyber communication cannot. Letters put voices to words and they can be revealing, expansive and humorous.

Who amongst us has kept all their e-mails from five years ago. never mind a lifetime?

Computers get disposed of and mobiles are replaced every other year.

With letters you savour their arrival and later take care to place them in a box or folder for safekeeping.

Now instead of enjoying the anticipation and joy of a warm, heartfelt letter, communications are instant, much less personal and more likely to be a brief ‘like’ on your Facebook profile.

How sad.