RDP Friday: Letter

English Letter Box in Oxlow Lane, Dagenham
I found this photo in my archives, taken in the area where my late dad lived. It is a good old British letter box. Note the Letters “G R” symbolising King George VI, father of the current Queen Elisabeth.  Probably cost too much to replace it with a new box: anyhow a typical landmark of the Brits and I am not even sure if they still exist.

Why do we have to have letter boxes? Do people still write letters today. I was writing regularly home to my parents when I moved to Switzerland in the 1960’s and my office job was based on letter writing. It was the business communication method. If you had the written word with a signature, it was genuine.  I earned my money by writing letters, usually dictated by the clerk and written in shorthand. Afterwards typed on the typewriter. This is now a thing of the past, almost and I cannot remember the last time when I actually wrote a letter to anyone.

Digital communication has taken over. E-mail, fax, messenger systems, call it what you want, but a handwritten letter is a thing of the past. I used to collect stamps when I was younger, taken from the old letters. Do we still need stamps? Only today I filled out a form (by computer of course) for my No. 1 son’s holiday reservation. He is autist and goes with a special group every year. I had to print out the form for my and his signature. It seems the digital signature is not yet so widely accepted.

I remember when my mum was still alive and she told me with regret that she had disposed of all the letters she still had that she wrote to my dad during the war when he was serving in various countries. I remember those letters, bundled together in a special case. I never really read them, but she showed me a couple with heavy black blocks over certain passages which had been made unreadable. That was the wartime censoring when my dad might have written where he was exactly and what he was doing. My mum met dad when he was a soldier just once and then they wrote to each other for five years whilst he was serving in the army in the war. Eventually he came home on a Friday and married on the next day to my mum. Just imagine, that was a love story. They had not seen each other for five years and my mum visited dad’s parents on her own whilst he was away, knowing that they might/would marry when he returned.

It was the letters that kept them in contact and she eventually destroyed them with heavy heart, not wanting them to be read when she or dad were no longer. Perhaps it was better that way. I do not think I would have ever read them, far too personal.

The romantic letters between Mr. Swiss and I are typed exchanges of mails, and today we carry our phones with us and can even see the person speaking. Yes I have seen a lot of changes in my years, it is called progress I believe: but a good old fashioned written word?? Ok, my handwriting was never so good.

RDP Friday: Letter